Wyoming regains Brucellosis-Free status
by Wyoming Governorís Office
September 12, 2006
Wyoming's brucellosis-free status was restored Tuesday, loosening restrictions placed on Wyoming producers by the federal government and following 18 months of work by a statewide task force.
An interim rule upgrading Wyoming's status was made effective by the US Department of Agriculture Tuesday and will become official when it is published in the Federal Register, which should take place within the next several days. It will then go out for public comment. Gov. Dave Freudenthal, who appointed most of the Wyoming Brucellosis Coordination Team membership in early 2004, said he was delighted by the USDA action and looks forward to the rule's publication.
"It is a tribute to the brucellosis task force and the others around the state who worked to make this effort successful," the Governor said. "It also demonstrates the importance of the producers, hunters and Game and Fish in the eastern and western parts of the state working and staying together so that we can retain statewide brucellosis-free status."
Brucellosis is a bacterial disease that causes cattle, elk and bison to abort their calves. It also causes reduced birth weight and generally poor reproductive health in livestock. It is possible, though rare, for the disease to be transmitted to humans, causing undulant fever and various long-term health effects.
Wyoming lost its class-free status in early 2004 when a second brucellosis-infected herd was found in the state. When two or more infected herds are found in a state within a two-year period, that state cannot maintain its brucellosis-free status. At the time, Freudenthal called the status downgrade a "powerful blow to Wyoming's livestock industry" and noted that the state's next step was to do what it could both to help producers and to ensure that class-free status was restored as soon as possible.
The United States is almost entirely free of brucellosis in cattle. Upon Wyoming's upgrade in status, only Idaho and Texas remain as states affected with cattle brucellosis.