Your Reading List

Alberta bovine TB case update

The isolated cases of TB in southern Alberta beef in 2016 may have dropped from the headlines, but the quarantine is still in effect on nearly three dozen Alberta/Saskatchewan farms and ranches.

Nearly three dozen Alberta and Saskatchewan ranches are still under a TB quarantine.

Alberta Beef Producers, in mid-June, provided the following update that explains the investigation to detect possibly infected animals continues, and it will likely be sometime before all sanitation of properties is completed. It will be a while before the quarantine is completely lifted.

  • Roughly 32 premises remain under quarantine, including sites that no longer have cattle. This represents approximately 4,500 animals.
  • To date, there are still only six confirmed cases of bovine TB (including the original cow found in the U.S.).
    • All six confirmed cases are the same strain of bovine TB.
  • Seventy-two sites have been released from quarantine, including low risk trace-out feedlot cattle, fenceline contact herds, trace-out herds, and land.
  • The bulk of trace-out herds have been identified and tested.
  • Preliminary laboratory testing of all current samples should be completed shortly, and culture results are being returned as they are received.
  • To date, all culture results have been negative.
  • Trace-in testing is expected to occur from September 2017 to February 2018.
  • Producers who may be part of the trace-in investigation are currently being contacted by CFIA to complete an epidemiological questionnaire about their operation. It is important to note that initial contact is to determine if there is a connection.
  • Herds confirmed to be part of the trace-in investigation will not be quarantined until testing begins on their operations.
  • Trace-in testing will include two tests – the regular caudal fold (tail test) and an ancillary test in order to eliminate the majority of false positive reactors. Only animals that react to both tests will be considered true reactors and be slaughtered to undergo enhanced post mortems.
  • Most trace-in herds will be under quarantine for a relatively short period of time (~one month), however; statistically speaking, there are likely to be a few herds that will have to stay under quarantine until histopathology or culture results are obtained. These herds will be eligible for early release from quarantine if the histopathology results are negative.
  • CFIA will work with those producers implicated in the trace-in investigation as much as possible to determine a testing schedule that fits with their production cycle.
  • Trace-in cattle are the lowest risk category as they are presumed to have the same TB status as the rest of the Canadian herd.
  • There are no restrictions on the movement or sale of animals from herds on early release from quarantine, including shipping to feedlots or immediate slaughter.
  • Cleaning and disinfection procedures on the 18 infected and presumed infected premises continues, and is tracking well to begin the necessary fallow period at the beginning of June for most operations.
  • Additional information about the trace-in component of the investigation is available at
  • Further information is available at or


About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.



Stories from our other publications