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Cattle in North Dakota Tested for Tuberculosis

August 20, 1988

WASHINGTON (AP) _ An estimated 14,000 cattle in North Dakota are being tested for bovine tuberculosis, and authorities are tracing cattle sold in Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and Texas that might have been exposed to the infectious disease, the Agriculture Department said Friday.

James Glosser, administrator of the department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said federal and state officials traced the suspected cattle to a herd in Wyndmere, N.D.

″This herd and two exposed herds were then placed under quarantine and tested for signs of tuberculosis,″ he said. ″So far, 32 animals that reacted to the test have been sent to slaughter, where a number of them showed evidence of tuberculosis on postmortem inspection.″

Glosser said the tuberculosis lesions were detected in early July during routine inspection at a West Fargo, N.D., slaughter plant.

He said the inspection service is taking steps to locate and test exposed herds as insurance against further spread of the disease.

All the exposed cattle are owned by members of the Sheyenne Grazing Association of North Dakota and are being tested by state and federal teams. The cattle were said to feed on the same grassland as the herd of origin and could have come into contact with infected animals.

Bovine tuberculosis can be spread among cattle through inhalation or by contaminated food and water sources, he said. Humans can become infected by drinking unpasteurized milk from diseased cows.

″Because bovine tuberculosis can have a long incubation period, a cow purchased today with a latent infection can eventually infect other animals even if it shows no signs of the disease,″ Glosser said. ″Clinical symptoms are not distinctive for many years after initial infection.″

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