For Immediate Release
January 15, 2010
Public Information Officer
Montana Department ofLivestock
BOL Approves Orders for Brucellosis, Trichomoniasis
The Montana Board of Livestock approved a number of animal health actions earlier this week at its regularly scheduled meeting in Helena, including the creation of a Designated Surveillance Area (DSA) for brucellosis and updates to rules for trichomoniasis.
"It was quite a productive meeting," said board chair Jan French, a cattle producer from Hobson. "The board addressed items that will help the livestock industry both within the state as well as in regard to maintaining a high level of confidence among trading partners outside our borders."
Following is a summary of the board's actions:
Brucellosis: The board approved an official order creating a Designated Surveillance Area for areas with known risk of brucellosis transmission from wildlife to livestock. The order picks up where the state's recently expired Brucellosis Action Plan (BAP) left off, using surveillance, testing, risk mitigation activities and vaccination as the foundation for a system designed to rapidly detect disease.
Specifically, the order establishes:
- Boundaries for the DSA;
- Testing requirements for eligible animals;
- Individual animal identification requirements within the DSA;
- Official Calfhood Vaccination (OCV) for all female cattle in counties in Beaverhead, Madison, Gallatin and Park counties (counties within which the DSA is located).
"Establishing the DSA is a big step for the state's livestock industry, and the board was pleased to see industry so involved in the process," French said. "The facts are simple – the USDA has declared the nation's livestock to be brucellosis-free, and the only remaining reservoir of the disease in the nation is in Greater Yellowstone Area. In that light, quickly implementing the BAP last year (when the state lost its Brucellosis Class-Free Status) and following up with the DSA was not only prudent, but essential."
An extensive public participation process that included public meetings, MDOL presentations at producer group meetings and a 30-day public comment period, resulted in several changes to the draft DSA order the board originally considered at its November meeting. Those revisions included language to require an annual review of the DSA; a more detailed description of the surveillance area and the addition of a detailed map; refinements to the OCV requirement; and language to clarify statutory authorities outlined in Montana Code Annotated 81-1-301(1) and 81-2-103.
State veterinarian Dr. Marty Zaluski said the DSA is consistent with a USDA-APHIS concept paper on brucellosis, which was released last fall and is supported by the U.S. Animal Health Association.
"The USDA is setting a new direction for the national brucellosis program, and the DSA is consistent with those efforts," Zaluski said. The new direction, he added, will focus on modernizing USDA's outdated regulatory framework for brucellosis while increasing emphasis on efforts to mitigate disease transmission from wildlife to livestock as well as enhancing disease response and control measures. Also important, he added, will be less emphasis on whole-herd eradication when one or more animals are found to have the disease.
Complete information about the DSA can be found on the department's web site.
Trichomoniasis: An order updating the department's regulations on trichomoniasis includes an extension for selling cattle after testing from 30 to 90 days, language to aid in the prevention and management of the disease, new regulations regarding public grazing and grazing associations, and penalties for non-compliance. A sexually transmitted disease caused by a parasitic protozoan, trich is usually inapparent in bulls (which often remain persistently infected and are the main reservoir for the parasite) but can cause early embryonic death and abortion in cows. The number of trichomonosis case detections in the state has been rising, in large part due to increased testing of cattle. Complete information about the new trich rules, including a trich education packet for livestock producers, will be posted on the department's web by the end of the month. "We're pleased we were able to address trich while helping ease commerce for producers by extending the 30-day post-testing sale window to 90 days," Zaluski said.
Tuberculosis: An order for tuberculosis updates the state's import policies and increases the age for mandatory testing (when required). The order requires a new blood test to supplement thrice-daily trunk sampling for elephants brought into the state for show purposes. Bovine tuberculosis has recently been detected in several states.
Deputy State Veterinarian Rule: The board also approved an order to codify into Administrative Rule requirements for the department's long-standing deputy state veterinarian program. There were no changes to the program, Zaluski said, and the move simply put into writing program requirements. Deputy state veterinarians receive training from the department that permits them to test for and report certain diseases, enact quarantines, write interstate and international certificates of veterinary inspection, and conduct other animal health-related tasks on behalf the department.
BOL-FWPC work group meeting: The board also met with members of the Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission and key administrators from FW&P on issues of common interest to both agencies. It was the second such meeting between the two boards to discuss issues such as brucellosis in wildlife and wolf management.
The board will next meet on March 15-16 in Helena.
Editor's note: A PDF map of the Designated Surveillance Area and now-expired Brucellosis Action Plan can be downloaded HERE.