Taipei, April 20 (CNA) Dairy cattle at three farms in Chiayi were confirmed to have been infected with bovine tuberculosis and 40 culled, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said Thursday.
The Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine under the COA said that it conducted routine checks on cattle at three farms in Chiayi on March 30 and 40 tested positive. The sick cattle were traced to a farm in Yunlin.
The Yunlin farm sold all 265 dairy cattle at the end of January to the three farms in Chiayi, a farm in Tainan, a farm in Pingtung and a slaughter house in Tainan.
The 16 cows sold to the slaughter house tested negative, but 10 cattle at the Tainan farm and three at the Pingtung farm were positive. Those tested positive were culled.
As a result, a total of 53 cattle dairy from the Yunlin farm were culled, while those animals not infected are under quarantine at their respective locations.
COA Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城) said that bovine tuberculosis is a communicable disease and has been in Taiwan for a long time. It is also transmittable to human beings though the bacteria dies at a temperature of 70-80 degrees Celsius.
Huang said that although the bacteria can exist in fresh milk, such milk is subject to high temperature sterilization.
As long as the public refrains from drinking milk directly from dairy cattle, the risk of being infected is minimal, Huang said, adding that there has never been a case of transmission to humans in Taiwan.
(By Liu Shih-yi and Lilian Wu)