CDA quarantines Montrose elk herd for tuberculosis |

CDA quarantines Montrose elk herd for tuberculosis

The Colorado Department of Agriculture quarantined an elk herd in Montrose Thursday after an animal tested positive for tuberculosis.

“TB has tremendous implications for the elk industry as well as other areas within our livestock community, so we’re working quickly to locate other animals that might have been exposed to the disease,” said Wayne Cunningham, state veterinarian at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. “We want to resolve this situation as soon as possible.”

The positive elk is a 12-year-old cow that was tested for TB after it was euthanized and brought to a meat processing facility during the past week. Originating from Illinois, the animal was purchased by an elk ranch in Alamosa, which is no longer is business.

With a live test for TB, animals that test positive for the disease will be euthanized, since the disease is contagious. At this time, the State Veterinarian’s office has identified four other elk ranches in Colorado that have received animals from the Alamosa ranch before it closed its doors.

“This case of TB should not affect our status as a TB-free state,” said Cunningham. “That status will be in jeopardy though if we have a second case within 48 months.”

Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious disease that affects both humans and animals, most commonly cattle. It is caused by bacteria that are part of the mycobacterium group.

The bacteria have a relatively slow rate of growth, so the disease usually takes many months to develop. In some instances, the organisms lie dormant within the host’s body for its lifetime, both in animals and in humans, without causing progressive disease.

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