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LIVESTOCK DISEASE ERADICATION: EVALUATION OF THE COOPERATIVE STATE–FEDERAL BOVINE TUBERCULOSIS ERADICATION PROGRAM
To protect the national livestock herd and wildlife, a program shouldbe initiated to eradicate bovine tuberculosis in farmed elk, deer,and other hoofed exotic species. Federal authority to pursue eradicationshould be exercised by APHIS in issuing Uniform Methods and Rulesseparate from those for cattle and bison.
Although the likelihood of M. bovis infection in humans has been greatly reduced by the control of tuberculosis in animals and animal products, subgroups of the human population still experience risk. Consequently, it is prudent to take measures to minimize the possibility of disease transmission between animals and humans.
To protect human and animal health, all confirmed diagnoses of M.bovis should be reported to public veterinary and medical officials.Federal public health authorities should differentiate among organismsin the M. tuberculosis complex in reporting disease incidence, initiatesurveillance in all instances in which risk of transmission betweenanimals and humans exists, and consider educational efforts aimedat those who may come into contact with infected animals.
There is always a danger that success in the eradication program removes incentives to learn more about bovine tuberculosis. However, continuing efforts in research and in training animal health personnel are needed to assure effectiveness in disease detection and management, to meet changing requirements of food safety regulations, and to cope with the inexperience of animal industry workers with this disease.
USDA should institute ongoing evaluation of new diagnostic technologiesto complement the routine application of existing tests. Ongoingcollaborative research should investigate pathogenesis, immunology,diagnostic approaches, genetic resistance, and the epidemiology ofbovine tuberculosis.
New surveillance methods for bovine tuberculosis at slaughter, designedto detect M. bovis infection in the absence of gross lesions andcompatible with Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) inspection,should be developed. More immediately, USDA's Food Safety InspectionService should reconfigure its goals for sampling carcasses for lesionsin order to reflect accurately the probability of infection thatvaries by animal species, animal type, and region.
To ensure that new scientific programs and technologies are usedeffectively, USDA should allocate the resources necessary to expandtraining of current and newly hired animal health workers accordingto their need to know about bovine tuberculosis. Experienced fieldpersonnel who have worked with naturally occurring bovine tuberculosismust be available as needed, allowing the testing program to reduceits reliance on accredited veterinarians.