ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) last week announced that New Mexico no longer met requirements to be declared bovine tuberculosis and would have its status downgraded.

Reports said that two infected herds had been found in New Mexico’s accredited free-zone since May 2007.

"This action is necessary to reduce the likelihood of the spread of bovine tuberculosis within the United States," the notice the Federal Register said.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on Thursday called on the USDA to reconsider the state's new "modified accredited advanced" status as soon as possible.

The New Mexico Livestock Board asked the USDA just days ago to authorize a modified accredited advanced zone in Curry and Roosevelt counties, releasing the rest of the state back to bovine TB-free status, board executive director Myles Culbertson told media on Thursday.

Bovine TB is considered untreatable, so both infected and non-infected cattle in a herd must be killed.

The highly contagious pulmonary disease causes severe coughing, fatigue, emaciation and debilitation. The disease, which can be fatal, is commonly spread when an infected cow coughs or snorts and other cattle inhale airborne particles. It can be passed from cattle to humans, but a state veterinarian reportedly said earlier this year that possibility is "a minimal public health issue."


Source: Associated Press