USDA Approves Minnesota's Split-state Status for Bovine TB (10/20/08)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has granted Minnesota's application for split state status in regard to bovine TB. A small section of the northwestern part of the state will remain "modified accredited: while the greater part of the state will return to "modified accredited advanced" status. This comes after Minnesota had been downgraded to modified accredited earlier this year when a number of herds were detected with TB. The move has been welcomed by the industry and will reduce expenses and movement restrictions. For details, visit:
On October 10, an indoor/outdoor cat from Hopkins tested positive for tularemia at the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, with confirmation at the Minnesota Department of Health. Tularemia, a zoonotic disease caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis, is highly infectious. The cat had presented to Shady Oak Veterinary Clinic on October 3 with a temperature of 106F, severe necrotizing ulcerations of the tongue and palate, lymphadenopathy, dehydration, and lethargy. A second cat from the same household with similar clinical signs had died approximately three weeks earlier. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has asked veterinarians throughout the state to be alert for cases of tularemia in cats, dogs, other domestic animals and wild animals, and take appropriate precautions (such as wearing gloves) when handling suspect cases. For more information, call Dr. Jeff Bender at 612-625-6203 or Dr. Joni Scheftel at the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-5414.
The Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) received funding from the USDA for surveillance of swine diagnostic case submissions for Classical Swine Fever (CSF) as part of a national surveillance program. Case submissions that meet case criteria and include appropriate samples will be eligible for CSF testing by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at the VDL Molecular Diagnostics Lab. A $50 credit will be applied against the diagnostic case for samples that are tested for CSF to help cover sample collection and submission costs. More information on the surveillance program is available on the "Got Tonsil" brochure. The program runs through to the end of 2008 with possible renewal. Contact: Dr. Jerry Torrison, 612 624-9778; email@example.com.
USDA Officially Downgrades Minnesota's Bovine TB Status (4/15/08)
On April 9, The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it had officially downgraded Minnesota’s bovine tuberculosis (TB) status from Modified Accredited Advanced to Modified Accredited. The drop in status, required by the USDA Code of Federal Regulations, follows the discovery of four additional infected herds within the last 12 months and will require Minnesota cattle producers to conduct additional testing when shipping animals out of state. More information is available on the Minnesota Board of Animal Health website.
Ribbon Cut for New Biosafety Level 3 Necropsy Facility (1/10/08)
A standing-room-only crowd packed 280 Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory on Jan. 10 for a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the VDL's new BSL-3 necropsy facility. The $2.44 million project will help the state immediately respond to outbreaks of diseases that could potentially spread from animals to people -- including the highly lethal form of bird flu, should it ever hit here.
Speakers at the event included Dr. Trevor Ames, interim dean; Dr. Frank Cerra, senior vice president of health sciences; Dr. Jim Collins, director of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory; Senator Steve Dille; Dr. Bill Hartmann, state veterinarian and director of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health; Rep. Alice Hausman and Gene Hugoson, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
L to R: Sheryl E-Marshall, St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Trevor Ames; Senator Steve Dille; Gene Hugoson, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture; Dr. Bill Hartmann; Dr. Jim Collins; Rep. Alice Hausman and Blaise Norton, St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.
Drs. Trevor Ames and Jim Collins Join University Officials on Visit to Willmar (10/10/07)
Interim Dean Trevor Ames and Dr. Jim Collins, director of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL), joined University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks, several members of the University's Board of Regents and officials from the Academic Health Center in Willmar, MN, to discuss partnerships between the University of Minnesota and Willmar organizations in areas such as:
Disease control. The VDL is working closely with the poultry industry, whose processing plants are concentrated in the Willmar area, to provide diagnostic testing for two serious diseases: turkey cellulitis and poultry enteritis, which are becoming a national problem. The VDL is working to mitigate these economically devastating diseases.
Information resources. Through its partnership with MinnWest, a biotech startup, the VDL is providing information that supports the company's ability to select products.
Tourism. The VDL is working with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to protect the area's economic interests in the hunting industry by offering statewide testing for TB in deer, which contributes to identifying any health issues and protecting human health. In addition, the VDL is conducting testing for viral hemorrhagic septicemia, a deadly infectious fish disease. This disease will have serious impact on the fish population if it is introduced into Minnesota lakes. The best way to prevent and minimize the disease in fish populations is to contain the disease by testing fish. The VDL will be on the front lines of surveillance of this deadly disease.
Jobs. Through the VDL's partnership with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory in Willmar provides jobs and contributes to the economic viability of the area.
The unique partnerships between the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and Minnesota's communities, such as Willmar, continue to have an important impact on the health of animals and people through Minnesota and the nation. Their work will continue to protect Minnesota's $21 billion animal agriculture industry from serious diseases by providing rapid diagnosis of animal diseases, identifying emerging disease, developing new diagnostic methods, and training diagnosticians and veterinarians.