Juergens Brothers Dairy named in suspected TB case

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CBH Columbia Basin Herald Local News

MOSES LAKE - Washington State Department of Agriculture officials released Juergens Brothers Dairy's name on Thursday as being the operation where a case of bovine TB is suspected.

No one answered the dairy's phone Thursday.

But WSDA will administer additional diagnostic testing on a group of Juergens' dairy cows that recently responded to an initial screening for bovine TB.

According to WSDA Communications Director Hector Castro, approximately 1,350 cows were tested last week at the Moses Lake dairy. Eleven of those cows reacted to the bovine TB screen, he said. WSDA officials are conducting bovine TB tests in response to a suspected case that surfaced in a cow from Juergens' dairy earlier this month.

The quarantine order was issued on Jan. 17, and directs the dairy to keep all animals at the facility while testing take place. The order also directs the dairy to pasteurize all milk produced at the facility before offering it for human consumption.

The pasteurization process kills TB, according to WSDA.

On Jan. 8, a cow was pulled from Juergens Brothers Dairy and transported to a Cowlitz County facility for slaughter. There, a U.S. Department of Agriculture food safety inspector noticed a suspicious lesion on the cow.

A sample was sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa. On Jan. 16, the Iowa lab reported the sample was consistent with bovine TB. Results from an additional test that will accurately diagnose the disease is expected in the coming weeks, according to WSDA.

Castro said although almost a dozen cows responded to the initial TB screen, that number is lower than anticipated.

While a typical response rate is between 1 and 4 percent, the response rate at Juergens is less than 1 percent, stated Castro. The 11 responding cows have been removed from the herd for additional testing to determine whether they are infected, he said. The quarantine order remains in place at the dairy, said Castro.

A contact herd located within the vicinity of Juergens Brothers Dairy was also tested, according to Castro. About 60 cows were tested last Tuesday, and all tested negative for bovine TB, he said.

Testing on younger cattle at that adjacent facility is expected to take place within the next two weeks, said Castro.

Since the cow in question was previously housed at a Snohomish County dairy before coming to Grant County, WSDA officials also recently tested cows at that facility as well. According to Castro, all 20 milking cows and 309 additional cows at the dairy in Monroe tested negative for bovine TB.

WSDA officials will continue to trace the movements of cows that may have had contact with the original dairy herd from which the infected cow came, said Castro.

There is no immediate human concern with the suspected TB case, according to state health officials. The meat from the cow was taken into isolation and destroyed.

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