B.C. cow with bovine TB was slaughtered in Alberta

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Beef producers will be closely following the investigation into a case of bovine tuberculosis discovered in a cow slaughtered in southern Alberta.

The animal came from a farm in B.C.'s southern interior, but was slaughtered at a plant in Brooks, Alta.

Rich Smith, executive director of Alberta Beef Producers, said Canada aggressively takes action whenever bovine TB is discovered.

'Too early to know'

"When we do find a case unfortunately we will expect the producers to lose some cattle. But at this stage it's too early to know where, how far and how wide the investigation will be," Smith said.

"The animals that were on the truck with it all ended up with the same fate at the slaughter plant, and they're all checked. And the disease doesn't happen instantly. So that fact that it came to a processing plant in Alberta effectively introduces virtually no level of risk from the disease."

Smith said so far there's no connection between this case and Alberta.

The cow was slaughtered on Oct. 26, and the lab tests for TB came back positive on Nov. 9, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

About 11,500 cows were slaughtered after the disease was found in six animals from a southeastern Alberta ranch in 2016. The source of that infection was never discovered.

"It's emotionally devastating for producers," said Smith.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said the finding shouldn't impact Canada's international status of being officially considered free of bovine TB.

The contagious disease can infect humans, but the risk in Canada is considered very low. The symptoms are similar to those of TB, which can include weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss, fever or cough.