WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The USDA announced Texas will be classified accredited-free regarding bovine tuberculosis (TB).

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is amending its bovine tuberculosis (TB) regulations regarding state and zone classifications by raising Texas's TB designation from modified accredited advanced to accredited free through publication of an interim rule.

Texas has met the criteria for accredited-free status by demonstrating that it has a zero percent prevalence of infected cattle or bison herds and has had no significant findings of TB in any cattle or bison herds in the two years since the depopulation of the last affected herd in the state. Under this status, cattle or bison that originate in an accredited-free state may be moved interstate without restriction.

Bovine TB is a contagious and infectious disease that affects cattle, bison, deer, elk, goats and other warm-blooded species, including humans. TB in infected animals manifests itself in lesions of the lung, lymph nodes, bone and other body parts, causes weight loss and general debilitation and can be fatal.

This interim rule is scheduled for publication in the Oct. 3 Federal Register and is effective upon publication.

Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Dec. 4. Send an original and three copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0145, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, Md. 20737-1238.

If you wish to submit a comment using the Internet, go to the Federal eRulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov, select "Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service" from the agency drop-down menu; then click on "Submit." In the Docket ID column, select APHIS-2006-0145 to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.

SOURCE: USDA news release.