HONOLULU — The state Department of Agriculture reports that a cow in a herd on Moloka‘i has been infected with bovine tuberculosis, Mycobacterium bovis, (bTB), a contagious, infectious, communicable disease of animals that can infect humans.
This is the first detection of the disease in a cattle herd in Hawai‘i since an outbreak of bTB on Moloka‘i 25 years ago.
The infected cow originated from a beef-cattle herd in Ho‘olehua in the central part of Moloka‘i and was temporarily pastured in Mapulehu on the east end of Moloka‘i due to the ongoing severe drought. Bovine tuberculosis has been present on Moloka‘i, particularly on the east end of the island, with sporadic outbreaks in cattle herds since the 1940s.
The recently-infected cow was one of 30 in the herd tested by a veterinary medical officer from the DOA’s Animal Industry Division last month.
The herd is currently isolated and under DOA quarantine in Ho‘olehua. The DOA is working with U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop a cleanup plan that will include the depopulation of the infected herd with indemnity being paid to its owner.
Although the balance of the herd tested negative, due to the insidious nature of bTB a decision has been made to depopulate the entire herd to ensure infected animals do not remain in the Moloka‘i cattle population. Exposed, adjacent and area herds will be subject to testing to ensure the infection has not spread.
Source: The Garden Island