Brucellosis fears trigger import restrictions

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON – Temporary restrictions have been placed on importing bovines (cattle and bison) that are capable of breeding from British Columbia by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (A.P.H.I.S.) because recent imports of three cows from the province were found to be reactors for brucellosis on slaughter testing.

Brucellosis is a bacterial disease that causes decreased milk production, weight loss, infertility, loss of young and lameness in cattle, elk and bison. The disease is contagious and can, though rarely, affect humans. There is no known treatment for brucellosis in animals.

As a result, all sexually intact bovines, which have resided in British Columbia, Canada, since March 25, that are presented for entry to the U.S. must be certified by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (C.F.I.A.) as having tested negative for brucellosis. Acceptable tests include the Fluorescence Polarization Assay (F.P.A.), Buffered Plate Antigen Test (B.P.A.T.), Card Test (Rose Bengal), Complement Fixation (C.F.) test or an Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (E.L.I.S.A.), performed within 30 days of export to the U.S.

This certification can be made on an attached document certified by C.F.I.A., which references the Canadian Health Certificate. These restrictions do not apply to bovines imported for immediate slaughter.

Sexually neutered bovines (steers, spayed heifers) from British Columbia, Canada, are not affected by these restrictions, and may enter the U.S. under the existing guidelines for their importation.

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