Alberta Beef Producers warn more ranches could be quarantined in bovine tuberculosis scare

Click to play video 'What is Bovine Tuberculosis?' What is Bovine Tuberculosis?
WATCH ABOVE: A number of Alberta farms and ranches have been under quarantine after a cow was found with Bovine Tuberculosis. The disease is rare and not often found in Canadian cattle. Quinn Campbell looks at what Bovine TB is – Oct 31, 2016

A statement on behalf of the Alberta Beef Producers is warning the number of herds quarantined could increase after Friday’s news that bovine tuberculosis was reported in a cow from the province that was slaughtered in the United States.

That finding spurred the quarantine of about 30 southeastern Alberta ranches—a number the beef producer group called “significant.”

READ MORE: Dozens of Alberta ranches quarantined for bovine tuberculosis

“The number of herds quarantined could increase as the tracebacks of animals in contact with any positive animals over the last five years proceed,” reads the newsletter.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said its veterinarians and inspectors are contacting cattle producers in five Alberta agricultural zones and working with provincial authorities to investigate.

READ MORE: ‘Right now it isn’t what we are looking at’ – Alberta environment minister on mass elk cull

The Alberta Beef Producers newsletter said preliminary testing of the “index herd” is complete.

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“We are awaiting the results of these tests,” the group wrote. “Testing of other herds that had direct contact with the infected animal is proceeding.”

The group is encouraging the CFIA and the Alberta government to investigate immediately so producers can take steps to manage the cattle under quarantine.

“We are working with the provincial and federal government to secure financial support to help producers cover the costs of holding and feeding quarantine animals, as well as the costs of lost marketing opportunities for these cattle,” the group said.

READ MORE: Cherryville hunters asked to help track tuberculosis

CFIA spokesperson Denis Schryburt told The Canadian Press the affected cow came from a ranch near Jenner, about 250 kilometres east of Calgary. The agency said the United States Department of Agriculture reported the case of bovine TB in September.

Bovine TB is a reportable disease in Canada, which is considered to be officially free of the disease despite the fact isolated cases may occur. The CFIA said the finding doesn’t affect Canada’s current status.

Bovine TB generally does not pose a threat to public health in Canada but people who have extended, close contact with an infected animal while it’s alive are at risk of contracting the disease, according to the CFIA.

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With files from The Canadian Press

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