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For Immediate Release

September 26, 2013
Steve Merritt
Public Information Officer
Montana Department of Livestock

Brucellosis Found in Madison County Cow

HELENA – Brucellosis has been found within the state’s Designated Surveillance Area in a Madison County cow, according to the state’s lead animal health official.

State veterinarian Dr. Marty Zaluski, Montana Department of Livestock, said results of cultures confirming the infection were received earlier today from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.

"It’s unfortunate. We obviously don’t like finding brucellosis in our cattle, but the silver lining is that the program we’ve invested so much time and effort in is working," Zaluski said. "The infected cow was found quickly and didn’t leave the DSA."

The state will not lose its Brucellosis Class Free Status, Zaluski said, as USDA-APHIS’s brucellosis program is currently operating under an interim rule that deemphasizes class status and directs states to focus on surveillance.

The cow was found in a herd of about 1,000 head, which are currently quarantined and undergoing a whole-herd test. In previous brucellosis-affected herds, the rate of infection has been extremely low – around 1 percent, Zaluski said.

"Fact is, we’re finding it, we’re finding it early, and we’re not letting infected animals make it to market," Zaluski said. "We’ve got a good program that works well for our producers and keeps infected animals from entering interstate commerce."

Governor Steve Bullock said the state has been aggressive in developing and implementing a "practical and workable" brucellosis plan.

"When brucellosis was found in 2007 for the first time in 22 years, it was a real wake-up call," Bullock said. "The livestock industry is a vital component of our economy, and as an export state, we had to reassure our trade partners that we’re serious about managing brucellosis and eliminating risks to other states.

"Brucellosis risk management is a collective effort," he said. "We’ve got everyone involved – the departments of Livestock and Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the state legislature, USDA-APHIS, ranchers and hunters."