CFIA will no longer respond to new cases of anaplasmosis

Until March 31, 2014, CFIA will still respond to new cases, 
but will follow only a scaled-back “interim approach”

Facing the fact that the disease has become “established” in U.S. herds, Canadian inspectors will no longer respond to new cases of anaplasmosis starting next spring.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced Feb. 25 it will remove anaplasmosis from Canada’s list of federally reportable diseases effective April 1, 2014, placing it instead on the “immediately notifiable” list.

“The decision reflects the fact that anaplasmosis is established in the United States,” the agency said in a statement. “There is a strong probability that anaplasmosis will enter Canada from the U.S. and the continuing to attempt to eradicate the disease within Canada may not be feasible.”

Once that happens, only laboratories will be required to report suspected or confirmed cases of anaplasmosis to the CFIA, thus allowing Canada to still meet the annual reporting requirements of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on the disease.

As of April next year, CFIA will no longer respond to anaplasmosis cases, nor run surveillance to verify Canada’s status for the disease.

Anaplasmosis, caused by a micro-organism parasitic to red blood cells, affects ruminants including cattle, sheep, goats and deer, but only causes clinical signs in cattle and giraffes. It remains of “economic importance” to the cattle sector in infected countries, including the U.S. Even after an infected animal recovers, it remains a source of the disease for life.

The disease can be spread by ticks, biting flies or contaminated instruments such as hypodermic syringes and dehorning equipment. The types of ticks that can amplify and transmit anaplasmosis exist in Canada, CFIA said.

Interim approach

CFIA today regulates imports of livestock and related products from countries where anaplasmosis is known to occur, through port-of-entry inspections by the Canada Border Services Agency or CFIA. Right now, given its status as a reportable disease, suspected cases of anaplasmosis must be reported to CFIA for immediate investigation.

Since 1997, a class of “restricted feeder” cattle has been allowed for import without anaplasmosis tests but under certain post-entry conditions, by licensed feedlots to be fattened for slaughter only.

Until March 31, 2014, CFIA will still respond to new cases, but will follow only a scaled-back “interim approach.” It will still test infected herds and run traceouts, but will no longer test susceptible animals in the areas surrounding an infected herd, nor test susceptible animals who may have come into contact with the infected herd.

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