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Alberta bovine tuberculosis case investigation now includes Saskatchewan

Producers hope the CFIA will put more resources into the investigation

The food safety investigation into a case of bovine tuberculosis that was found in an Alberta cow now extends into Saskatchewan.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said two farms in Saskatchewan are under quarantine along with 33 farms in southeastern Alberta.

The agency said the quarantines in Saskatchewan are not new cases of the contagious bacterial disease, but are the result of tracing work from one infected herd in Alberta. The source of the infection is not known.

"The removal and humane destruction of animals is continuing,'' the CFIA said on its website. "CFIA inspectors are conducting on-farm testing and tracing of potentially exposed animals.''

The farms in Saskatchewan are located in rural municipalities south of the South Saskatchewan River and west of Highway 4.

Chad MacPherson, a spokesman for the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association, said producers hope the CFIA will put more resources into the investigation.

"The quarantine is unfortunate for the producers that are under it because it puts them under stresses, financial challenges,'' he said.

"The main thing is to do the trace-back and investigation as thoroughly as possible and as quick as possible to get it resolved.''

The association, which represents about 600 cattle producers in Saskatchewan, said the TB case has not had any direct impact on cattle markets or trade.

Last week, the CFIA warned that more ranches could be placed under quarantine and suggested the process of testing cattle and tracing where the animals have lived is expected to take months.

Bovine TB can be transmitted from affected animals to people, causing a condition similar to human tuberculosis, but the CFIA website says the risk to the general population is very low.

The United States Department of Agriculture reported the case of bovine TB to Canada in September after the disease was found in a slaughtered cow from a ranch near Jenner, Alta., about 250 kilometres east of Calgary.

Bovine TB is a reportable disease in Canada and has been subject to a mandatory national eradication program since 1923.

The CFIA said Canada is considered to be officially free of the disease, although isolated cases may occur. The agency said this finding does not affect Canada's current status.

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