Dairy cattle in Chiayi were confirmed this week to have been infected with bovine tuberculosis. Disease control authorities said Friday that there was a risk of cow-to-human transmission if a consumer drinks unsterilized milk, but that there was no cause for concern because all milk on the market must be sterilized.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said that the milk of cows infected by bovine tuberculosis do carry bacteria that can infect humans.
But all fresh milk products on the market are high-temperature sterilized, which kills the bacteria, Lo said.
So long as the public does not drink raw milk directly from the dairy cow, the risk of infection is low, he said.
He said there had never been a case of cow-to-human transmission of tuberculosis in Taiwan.
A day earlier, dairy cows at three farms in Chiayi were confirmed to have been infected with bovine tuberculosis. Forty cattle were culled.
The Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine under the COA said that it conducted routine checks on cattle at three farms in Chiayi on March 30 and 40 tested positive.
The sick cattle were traced to a farm in Yunlin.
The Yunlin farm sold all 265 dairy cattle at the end of January to the three farms in Chiayi, a farm in Tainan, a farm in Pingtung and a slaughter house in Tainan.
The 16 cows sold to the slaughter house tested negative, but 10 cattle at the Tainan farm and three at the Pingtung farm were positive. Those tested positive were culled.
As a result, a total of 53 cattle dairy from the Yunlin farm were culled, while those animals not infected are under quarantine at their respective locations.