The Arizona Department of Agriculture (ADA) has announced a single steer in a Pinal County rodeo stock operation tested positive for bovine tuberculosis (bovine TB). The event cattle operation has been placed under quarantine.

The affected steer was recently imported into the State of Arizona from Mexico and tested negative for bovine TB at the time of importation. The positive diagnosis was determined when the steer was retested to meet another state’s entry requirement.

“This diagnosis is a reminder of how important it is to keep high risk imported steers and spayed heifers separate from domestic beef and dairy breeding cattle,” stated Acting State Veterinarian John Hunt. 

Hunt says since there is no treatment for cattle infected with bovine tuberculosis, exposed cattle must be either tested or depopulated. Given that the time from an animal’s exposure to a positive test can be several months, it can take months of testing to ensure the disease is eradicated from a herd.

Arizona has been declared free of bovine tuberculosis since 1978. “Free status” was temporarily suspended due to an incident in 1979, but was reinstated in 1981 after prompt elimination of the disease.

The State Veterinarian and the ADA veterinary staff are working closely with USDA officials to implement the best course of action to eliminate the disease.