U.S. achieves class-free status for brucellosis in cattle

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The Department of Agriculture announced Feb. 1 that for the first time in the 74-year history of the brucellosis program, all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have simultaneously achieved class-free status in cattle.

The interim rule declaring Texas the final state to become brucellosis-free took effect with its publication Feb. 1 in the Federal Register.

Eradication of brucellosis was elevated to a national scale in 1934 with the formation of a cooperative state-federal program. Class-free status is based on a state finding no known brucellosis in cattle for 12 months. The classifications for brucellosis are class-free, class A, class B, and class C, which is for states or areas with the highest rate.

"This tremendous achievement could not have been accomplished without the combined efforts of state and federal agencies and industry," said Bruce Knight, USDA undersecretary for marketing and the regulatory programs mission area. "But our work is not done. We must now focus our efforts on eradicating brucellosis from the free-ranging elk and bison populations in the Greater Yellowstone Area in order to protect our national cattle herd against future outbreaks of this disease."

Comments on the interim rule must be received by April 1 to be considered. Send an original and two copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS-2008-0003, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Comments can also be submitted on the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Click on "Add Comments" to view public comments and related materials electronically.