Indiana's cattle producers -- their billion-dollar-a-year industry threatened by an obscure bacterium -- turn their eyes anxiously to Franklin County.

There on a small farm lived a cow that had bovine tuberculosis. The disease was detected in the cow at a slaughterhouse in Pennsylvania in December.

The State Board of Animal Health tested all the cows on the Franklin County farm and an adjacent cattle farm for bovine TB -- twice. All tested negative.

Bovine TB, highly contagious, can be passed to cattle by deer, so the Department of Natural Resources culled 30 wild deer in the area and tested them. The results won't be in until October.

If bovine TB is discovered, it would increase the likelihood of it showing up in a second herd. And that could spell trouble.

Bovine TB can affect all warm-blooded vertebrates, though it is no longer much of a threat to humans as long as they drink pasteurized milk and cook meat thoroughly.

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