Timeline of Bovine Tuberculosis in Canadian and Manitoban Cattle and Bison

In Canada

1897: TB testing offered free of charge by federal government but no restrictions on testing or disposal of reactors

1907: National Meat Inspection System initiated at slaughter plants; included examination for TB

1908: Voluntary Supervised Herd Plan initiated; reactors identified and removed

1914: Municipal Tuberculosis Order; municipalities could pass by-laws requiring milk producers to test herd free of TB; federal compensation paid for reactors

1919: Accredited herd program started

1923: Area TB testing started

1937: TB first reported in Wood Buffalo National Park (WBNP) bison; believed introduced into WBNP between 1925-1928 when plains bison moved to WBNP from the Buffalo Park herd near Wainwright, AB; to this day TB remains endemic within the WBNP bison herd with possibly 50% of animals infected

1961: First general TB test in Canada completed; 500 million cattle were tested; 400,000 reactors identified; $150 million paid in compensation

1968: MCT back-tagging used for exemptions; if 25% of adult herd slaughtered without lesions over 5 years the herd was exempted from TB testing

1974: TB infected herds now required to be quarantined until negative to a 60 day retest (prior to 1974 only reactors quarantined and slaughtered)

1977: Introduction of TB accredited areas if infection rates were less than in 0.2% of total cattle population in area

1979-1982: Introduction of whole herd depopulation on TB culture confirmation (prior to this only reactors slaughtered); greater shift to slaughter surveillance versus area testing

1997: Canada recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as having a "TB free" status; USDA no longer required cattle to be TB tested prior to import; a few states, such as South Dakota, still imposed TB testing however

1999: Saskatchewan cow with TB recognized at the Moose Jaw slaughter plant; herd destroyed and no other positive animals identified including traceouts; positive cow was natural addition, no connection found to Manitoba on investigation

2001: Alberta bison herd identified with TB; herd destroyed; no other positives found; source tentatively traced back to a TB infected Quebec safari park in the early 1990's

2002: Ontario dairy herd identified with TB; one TB positive traceout founds still ongoing

2002, December 5: Amendments to the Health of Animals regulations passed to harmonize TB and Brucellosis catagories with USDA, set out the use of movement permits, and allow cervids and cattle/bison to have different TB and/or Brucellosis statuses

2003, January 1: Amendments to the Health of Animals regulations come into effect

In Manitoba

1950's-1960's: TB not uncommon in Manitoba and Canadian cattle herds. Several outbreaks occurred in cattle surrounding Riding Mountain National Park (RMNP)

1960's: 2 TB positive wolves found in RMNP; findings not published until 1970's

1981: Last case of TB in Manitoba livestock identified, prior to 1991 occurrence

1986: Manitoba declared TB disease free

1991: TB discovered in a beef herd at Portage; source traced back to Rossburn Municipality; testing continued until July 1993, with a total of 15,500 head tested, 7 animals found infected, 7 herds depopulated

1992, January: first TB positive wild bull elk, 5-8 years old, hunter-killed, found near the site of the originally infected herd at Rossburn; first reported case of TB in free-ranging elk in North America; 55 other elk collected at this time came back TB negative

1996: Feeder calf tested TB positive for export; cultured positive; traceback to Manitou herd; herds destroyed; no other positive animals identified though herd near Manitou had a rotten dead cow on premise suspected to have pulmonary TB; no linkages found to area around RMNP

1997, October: Manitoba slaughter cow found with TB in a United States (US) packing plant; traced back to a Rossburn cattle herd; Rossburn herd not far from one of the previous 1991 Rossburn positive herds and from where TB positive elk found in 1992; One traceout was found positive in herd near Virden; Virden herd put down but no other animals found TB positive

1997: Manitoba's Canadian "TB free" status was changed to "TB accredited" by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

1997 Fall-1998 Winter Season: Hunter survey of elk started by cooperative effort between Manitoba Conservation, Parks Canada, CFIA and Manitoba Agriculture; 200 cervid samples collected (139 elk, 55 moose, 6 deer); all TB negative

1998 Fall-1999 Winter Season: Two more wild elk found positive; 527 cervid samples collected (271 elk, 153 moose, 101 whitetail deer, 2 mule deer); rest TB negative

  • September 1998: Survey identified second elk (5-8 years old) with TB in RMNP (Lake Audy)

  • January 1999: Third elk (1998 calf) near Onanole

1999 Fall-2000 Winter Season: Three more wild elk found TB positive; 409 cervid samples collected (240 elk, 129 whitetail deer, 40 moose), 1 bear, 12 beaver, 20 coyote, 5 mink, 4 raccoon, 1 wolf; rest TB negative

  • December 1999: Fourth elk (bull, 3-5 years old) south of Grandview

  • January 2000: Fifth elk (cow, ~6 years old) near Onanole

  • February 2000: Sixth elk (bull, 5-8 years old), Rossburn area

2000 Fall-2001 Winter Season: Four more wild elk found positive; 968 cervid samples collected (565 elk, 230 moose, 173 whitetail deer); rest TB negative

  • October 2000:  Seventh elk (bull, 3-5 years old) north side of RMNP

  • January 2001: Eighth elk (bull, 5-8 years old), Rossburn area

  • January 2001: Ninth elk (cow, 15+ years old), north side of Park

  • January 2001: Tenth elk (cow, 1-3 years old), Rossburn area

2001, May: TB found in cattle herd (bull) near Grandview; identified on CFIA area testing after TB positive bull elk found in area

2001, November: Wild whitetail deer found TB positive south of RMNP near Olha; 904 cervid samples collected (244 elk, 76 moose, 584 whitetail deer); rest TB negative

2001, December: US found "TB suspect" Canadian animal on slaughter; from records Manitoba is thought to be source, likely from a herd in the RMNP area; intensive testing of possible source herds have not identified an infected herd; slaughter animal confirmed positive April 2002 by culture; DNA fingerprinting of isolate is being done

2002, July 17: USDA announced TB status of Manitoba has changed according to their criteria. They propose negative TB testing will be required for breeding cattle and bison that have been in the province of Manitoba before importation will be allowed into the US

2002, July 17: USDA announced TB status of Manitoba has changed according to their criteria. They propose negative TB testing will be required for breeding cattle and bison of breeding potential, that have been in the province of Manitoba, before importation will be allowed into the US

2002, August 17: New USDA import requirements came into effect

2003, January 1: Date the amendments to the Health of Animals regulations come into effect and Manitoba is split into the Riding Mountain TB Eradication Area (RMEA) with a TB-accredited-advanced status and the remainder of Manitoba with a TB-free status; movement permits will be required to move cattle/bison of breeding potential out of the RMEA

See the Map of TB Positives, 1991 - 2002 (PDF 178KB).

Prepared by

S. Copeland
Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives