Interim Rule, Approved Tests for Bovine Tuberculosis in Cervids

Formal Title - Docket Number (APHIS-2012-0087); Interim Rule, Approved Tests for Bovine Tuberculosis in Cervids 

Brief Description:

With the interim rule, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has added the Cervid TB Stat-Pak® test and the and Dual Path Platform (DPP®) tests as official tuberculosis (TB) tests for captive elk, red deer, white-tailed deer, fallow deer, and reindeer.  The agency has taken this action because it has determined that the tests can reliably detect the presence or absence of antibodies to bovine tuberculosis in certain species of captive cervids. This action is necessary on an immediate basis in order to provide regulated entities with more options in order to meet the testing requirements for captive cervids within the regulations.

AVMA Response

The AVMA commends the U.S. Department of Agriculture on its work done in conjunction with the approval and addition of the serological assays as official bovine tuberculosis (M. bovis) tests for captive elk, red deer, white-tailed deer, fallow deer, and reindeer as announced in the interim rule [Docket No. APHIS-2012-0087].  The incorporation of these diagnostic advancements into the official TB surveillance efforts for the specified captive cervids provides an option by which testing requirements can be met while also reducing the number of times that the animals need to be handled in order to obtain the diagnostic results.

While we understand that the serological assays are currently required to be administered only by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL), we encourage the USDA to continue evaluation and enhancements of the tests so that they may also be utilized outside of the NVSL, such as by other approved laboratories or ideally as pen-side tests. 

In addition to the benefits afforded to bovine TB surveillance in farmed or otherwise captive cervids, pen-side tests which yield on-site results would greatly advance bovine TB surveillance in wild cervid populations.  Optimally, such could be used as a tool by wildlife managers to test and release tuberculosis negative wild deer in their efforts to eradicate bovine TB reservoirs in free-ranging white-tailed deer.

Background Documents:

Related AVMA Policies: