WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture upgraded the bovine tuberculosis status of seven counties in the lower peninsula of Michigan.

The agency's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued an interim rule upgrading the status for the seven counties to Accredited Free, from Modified Accredited Advanced. The upgrade effectively eliminates required bovine tuberculosis testing before interstate movement of cattle and bison from the affected counties.

APHIS determined that Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Otsego and Presque Isle counties meet the criteria for accredited-free status. There have been no findings of bovine tuberculosis in any cattle or bison in these counties since April 2011.

Bovine TB continues to be a concern in Michigan. In March 2013, a Saginaw County dairy farm was discovered to be bovine TB positive when a cull cow with lesions went to slaughter. Investigators with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) quarantined the farm and immediately started an investigation into where any deacon calves or heifers may have gone. The search uncovered two small beef herds — one in Midland County and another in Gratiot County, both raising deacon calves from the affected Saginaw County herd.