According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), on 26 October, a mature beef cow was presented for slaughter at a federally registered facility. Post-mortem examination of the animal revealed the presence of granulomatous lesions in the mediastinal lymph nodes, lungs and liver. The carcase was condemned, and no portions of the animal entered the food chain.
Samples were shipped to the CFIA’s Ottawa Laboratory–Fallowfield the same week and, on 9 November, laboratory testing results confirmed a case of bovine TB. The animal was traced to a farm in the southern interior of British Columbia.
The CFIA said it was continuing to work closely with the producers, industry associations, and provincial and federal agricultural and health authorities throughout the investigation.
In a statement, it said: “The CFIA is in the very early stages of its investigation. It has begun tracing movements of the animal in the infected herd to try to identify the source and any potential spread of the disease. This involves identifying all herds that have come in contact with the infected animal during its life. The CFIA has also begun testing to identify the strain of the bacterium as this may inform if there are connections to previous cases.
“As the investigation proceeds, the CFIA will trace the movement of animals to and from the infected herd during the past five years to identify and eliminate the source and any potential spread of the disease. Because the investigation is in the early stages, the exact number of herds involved and the time to complete the investigation are not yet known.”
This finding is not expected to affect Canada’s current international status in which all provinces are considered bovine TB-free.
The CFIA added that while Canada was considered to be officially free of bovine TB today, isolated cases may occur. It stressed that there was no risk to the food supply or to human health from this case and that human cases of bovine TB were very rare.
In all cases where federally regulated diseases are suspected or confirmed, the goal is to take appropriate and prudent control measures while minimising disruptions to producers. During a bovine TB investigation, quarantines and movement restrictions are placed on any implicated animals. Testing, humane destruction, and disposal are carried out as required.