FAQ Index


    ​The Illinois Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare is responsible for detection and eradication of certain animal diseases. State veterinarians perform epidemiological investigations, develop plans to eradicate disease in infected herds, and monitor and test animals. Animal health and welfare investigators assist state field veterinarians with livestock testing, test poultry for disease and ensure livestock owners comply with testing requirements. These officials also inspect livestock markets for proper sanitation, monitor livestock identification and ensure animals are transported properly.

    Reportable Diseases - Diseases on this list are required to be reported to the Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare. The reporting requirement can be satisfied by contacting the Bureau at 217/782-4944.

    What does the Agriculture Department do to help eradicate animal disease in Illinois?

    The following paragraphs summarize how the department works toward eradication of animal diseases.


    In 2002, Illinois achieved pseudorabies free status. Pseudorabies is a viral disease that affects animals' immune systems, respiratory functions and reproductive abilities. Although usually associated with swine, pseudorabies can infect virtually all mammals except humans and tailless apes. The disease is spread through direct contact with an infected animal. Preventive vaccinations are available, but no cure exists for the sometimes fatal disease.

    State and federal veterinarians perform routine testing and trace the origin of animals testing positive for pseudorabies at slaughter. When a herd is determined to be infected, a veterinarian visits the herd owner to develop an eradication plan. The plan includes recommendations for herd management and movement of animals, biosecurity measures, and vaccination and testing schedules. The veterinarian continues to work with the owner until the disease is eliminated from the herd. State veterinarians also test swine in areas surrounding quarantined herds to locate additional infected animals.

    Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA)

    Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) affects the immune system of horses, ponies, mules, donkeys, asses and zebras. The disease spreads when blood from infected animals is transmitted to other animals by blood-sucking insects or through use of contaminated hypodermic needles or surgical instruments. No treatment is available. Infected animals must be freeze-branded, sent to market, euthanized or quarantined for life.

    Animal health officials enforce regulations requiring a negative test for EIA within 12 months preceding entry into the state or participation in an advertised equine event. These events include shows, demonstrations, sales, auctions, rodeos and organized trail rides. State law also mandates testing of equidae within 1½ miles of a single positive animal and 3 miles of multiple positive animals.

    All equine 12 months of age and older moving through sales and auctions are required to have a negative test for EIA within 12 months prior to arrival at the sale. Equine being loaned, leased, traded or sold privately are also required to have tested negative within the preceding 12 month period, if the animal is more than 12 months of age.

    Poultry Diseases

    Avian influenza is a viral disease that affects the respiratory and nervous systems of many kinds of poultry and birds. No effective treatment exists.

    Ratites (ostriches, emus, kiwis, cassowaries and rhea) transported into Illinois must test negative for avian influenza within 10 days prior to entry into Illinois.

    The Department also administers the National Poultry Improvement Plan for Illinois. The plan provides for the testing for diseases such as Salmonella pullorum at poultry- producing facilities and to inspect these facilities for proper sanitation. Officials also evaluate producers' management practices, testing and monitoring procedures.

    Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)

    Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) is known as "mad cow disease," is a slow, progressive, fatal disease of the nervous system of cattle. It typically occurs in cattle 5 years of age of older. BSE has been found in cattle native to the USA and Canada. Scientific evidence suggests BSE is associated with a rare human disease called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD).

    Diagnosis of BSE is difficult because there are no live animal tests. Preventing transmission of the BSE agent is the only safeguard available because there are no treatments and no vaccines available.


    Illinois has maintained bovine brucellosis-free status since 1992 and swine brucellosis-free status since 1984, enabling the state to repeal some industry testing requirements. Brucellosis is a contagious bacterial disease that may cause pregnant females to abort and animals of both sexes to become infertile. Brucellosis does not contaminate the meat from infected animals but may reduce milk yields in infected dairy cows.

    As a surveillance measure, the Department of Agriculture tests for brucellosis at slaughter facilities. Cattle sold through auction markets may also be subject to test to ensure they are free of this disease before being introduced into a new herd.


    Illinois achieved bovine tuberculosis-free status in 1986 after 67 years of working toward eradication.

    As a preventive measure, cattle entering Illinois for exhibition from states with a high incidence of tuberculosis must test negative for the disease. To prevent transmission of tuberculosis from captive deer and elk to livestock, the Department requires deer and elk transported into the state test negative for tuberculosis prior to entry.


    Johne's disease, or paratuberculosis, is a chronic disease in cattle, bison, cervids (deer and elk), sheep and goats, marked by chronic, intermittent diarrhea that does not respond to treatment.

    Infection occurs with the ingestion of the Johne's bacteria through feed or water contaminated with feces, or from bacteria on the teat or udder of the dam. Trans-placenta infection is also possible. Additionally, the bacteria can also be passed through colostrum or milk.

    There is no cure for Johne's disease.

    Voluntary Paratuberculosis Certification and Risk Management Programs are available for producers. These programs enable producers to certify that their herds or flocks are monitored for Johne's disease.

    Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

    Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, is a fatal disease of the central nervous system in deer and elk. While related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, commonly known as mad cow disease), CWD is a separate disease known to infect only deer and elk.

    Foot and Mouth Disease

    Foot and mouth disease is a highly communicable viral disease of cattle, swine, sheep, deer, goats, and other cloven-hooved ruminants.

    Monkey Pox

    Monkey Pox is related to the virus that causes smallpox, and smallpox vaccinations also give protection against it. The disease is usually transmitted from squirrels and primates through a bite or the animal's blood. For more info:

    West Nile Virus

    West Nile virus first emerged in the United States in the New York metropolitan area in the fall of 1999. Since then, the virus, which can be transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito, has quickly spread across the country and, this year, reached California. To report a suspected or confirmed case of the West N​ile Virus, call the Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare, Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, at (217) 782-4944 to provide case information.

    Get background information in laymen's language about the West Nile Virus and the situation in Illinois from the Illinois Department of Public Health.  

    Contact Information

    For more information about these and other animal health programs administered by the Department, contact:

    Illinois Department of Agriculture
    Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare
    P.O. Box 19281
    State Fairgrounds
    Springfield, IL 62794-9281

    TDD: 866-​287-2999
    FAX: 217-558-6033