ANTWERP, Ohio — The investigation continues as to where an Ohio dairy herd that tested positive for bovine tuberculosis may have originated.
Positive tests were confirmed in early July on cattle from Oolman Dairy LLC of Paulding County in northwestern Ohio.
State Veterinarian Tony Forshey said the whole herd of about 2,2000 head has been depopulated, to be safe. There is no known human illness associated with this occurrence, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Forshey said “the food (beef) is safe to eat.”
He and his staff continue their work to determine which state and which herd the infected cattle may have come. Trace-ins (cattle brought into the herd) and trace-outs (cattle leaving the herd) in as many as 17 states are being looked at. He said it could take a month or more before the investigation is complete.
“You can see the massive national web that we have,” Forshey said.
Susan Skorupski, area veterinarian for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Ohio and West Virginia Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said her office is committed to preventing human health issues, and working with Forshey to find as much as they can.
“We’re turning all the rocks over to make sure we look under each of them,” she said.
So far, no further cases of bovine TB have been reported.
About the disease. Tuberculosis is a disease caused by bacteria which affect the respiratory system. Bovine tuberculosis, also known as cattle TB, is an infectious form of tuberculosis as it infects most warm-blooded animals, including humans. It can manifest in livestock as a chronic, debilitating disease, and it may take years to develop bovine tuberculosis lesions in the lungs.
Airborne exposure from coughing and sneezing is considered to be the most frequent way in which bovine tuberculosis is spread, but it can also occur through consumption of contaminated water, feed or unpasteurized milk.
The phone number listed for Oolman Dairy is no longer in service. A manager from the farm was reached by email, but declined to comment.