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NMPF to Assist USDA in Strengthening National TB and Brucellosis Program

July 8, 2011

The national tuberculosis (TB) and brucellosis eradication programs have successfully reduced the incidence of the diseases in U.S. cattle. There continues to be a low incidence of TB as evidenced by the newly identified infected herds over the past several years. Likewise, a small but persistent level of brucellosis exists in the Greater Yellowstone Area. As the U.S. struggle to deal with the impacts of the current TB and brucellosis episodes in the near term, NMPF is working with USDA to improve the national TB and brucellosis eradication programs, to ensure that we meet the long term goal of protecting human and animal health by eradicating zoonotic diseases from our nation’s cattle herd.

In order to have a more concerted effort to achieve the end goal of complete eradication of bovine TB and brucellosis from our cattle herd, with no reoccurrences, it has become evident that USDA’s programs need to be updated, and the antiquated testing methodologies and surveillance tools improved. USDA’s draft Framework set’s a pathway for modernizing these eradication programs.

In September 2010, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services (VS) formed a working group of Federal, State, and Tribal subject matter experts to discuss new directions and flexible, transparent regulations for the bovine TB and brucellosis eradication programs. The working group subsequently drafted a regulatory framework of eight interrelated elements for the TB and brucellosis proposed rule.

Earlier this year, USDA APHIS-VS issued a Proposed Bovine Tuberculosis and Brucellosis Draft Regulatory Framework for updating and modernizing the coordinated Federal-State approach for bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis eradication. USDA held a series of public meetings to solicit input on the Framework. On July 5, 2011, NMPF submitted comments in general support of the Framework to USDA. NMPF’s comments are available online.