The Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced Friday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had approved the state’s proposal to shrink the bovine tuberculosis (TB) Zone in Michigan to a small area in northern Lower Michigan.  

cows1.jpgBovine TB is a contagious bacterial disease of cattle that can affect other mammals, including humans.  In the early 1900s, tuberculosis caused more losses of livestock than all other livestock diseases combined.

In 1917, the federal government established a nationwide bovine TB Eradication Program that assigns status levels for each state based on the prevalence of the disease in that state.

The USDA has five designated status levels that apply to a whole state or part of a state (zone).  Levels can also be subdivided.  The goal of the bovine TB Eradication Program is for a state to move up the levels and achieve bovine TB-Free Status. The levels are:

• Accredited Free
• ModifiedAccreditedAdvanced
• ModifiedAccredited
• Accredited Preparatory
• NonAccredited

The highest status level is “Accredited Free” which means that there is zero percent prevalence of bovine TB in a state (or zone). The lowest designated status is Non Accredited. Requirements for movement, surveillance, testing, record keeping, and animal identification are specific for each state or zone and determined by their USDA bovine TB status designation. The requirements are more restrictive in Non Accredited states and zones, and become less restrictive as states and zones move toward Accredited Free status.

The USDA issued an interim rule, effective December 18, 2009, which lessens restrictions on the interstate movement of cattle and bison from certain areas of Michigan that were formerly Modified Accredited Zones and have now earned the designation of Modified Accredited Advanced Zones.  

According to MDA, 46 Michigan cattle farms and four privately owned cervid operations have been bovine TB-positive since 1998.  The majority of farms have been depopulated.  

In 2008, two cattle herds and one privately owned cervid operation were found positive, and in 2009 only one cattle herd and one privately owned cervid operation have been confirmed positive for bovine TB.  All of these farms were in the Modified Accredited Zone.

In a prepared statement regarding the zone-status change, Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director Don Koivisto said, “After months of public hearings, educational meetings, and discussions with federal regulatory officials, we are happy to report Michigan cattle producers and MDA are one step closer to concentrating our disease eradication efforts in the zone where we know bovine TB exists.  Federal rule and zoning order changes are based on the national program and will help keep Michigan farmers in business while preventing spread of bovine TB outside of the zone.”

MDA and the Michigan State University Extension will launch an outreach and education campaign for producers in affected areas.  

Modified Accredited Zones and subzones include Alcona, Alpena, Montgomery, Oscoda, and Presque Isle counties, and those parts of Iosco and Ogemaw counties north of the southernmost boundaries of the Huron National Forest and the Au Sable State Forest.  Subzones that make up the Modified Accredited Advanced Zone are:  

Subzone 1 – Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, and
Otsego counties.

Subzone 2 – Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska,
Missaukee, Osceola, Roscommon, and Wexford counties, and those portions
of Iosco and Ogemaw counties not included in the MAZ.
Subzone 3 – All counties in Lower Michigan not included in the
MAAZ Subzone 1, Subzone 2, or the MAZ.

The Upper Peninsula remains bovine TB-free.

The changes will become effective January 4, 2010.  USDA will consider all comments regarding the rule until February 16, 2010. More information about the Split State Status rule is available in the Federal Register