DNR officials say Bovine Tuberculosis is prevalent in northern deer populations

Bow hunting season is underway, and DNR officials are reminding hunters to be cautious and check deer for diseases.

Officials say six counties in northeast Lower Michigan have deer with Bovine Tuberculosis.

Ashley Autenrieth is a Deer Program Biologist with the DNR. She said older deer are more likely to be infected.

She said anyone hunting in Presque Isle, Montmorency, Alpena, Oscoda, Alcona, and Iosco counties should bring their deer in for testing.

“It is prevalent in the northeast herd. But it’s only at about 2 percent prevalency rate,” Autenrieth said, “So it’s not a huge number of deer that are actually positive with TB. But it is persistent right now within that population. And so we obviously don’t know when someone harvests the deer; does it have it or doesn’t it.”

Autenrieth said deer testing is important because Bovine TB is transferable to humans in rare cases. Less than 1 percent of human tuberculosis cases are caused by the bovine variety, and even then, the disease rarely results from an infected deer.

“It isn’t that it’s really prevalent, but it certainly is something that we’re monitoring,” Autenrieth said, “And our goal is TB eradication in that area. And we have managed to basically confine it to those six counties.”

Autenrieth said most Bovine Tuberculosis cases in deer require testing to verify the presence of the disease.

She said the DNR will offer replacement tags to hunters if they do have an infected deer.

ON THE WEB
Bovine Tuberculosis http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10319-99064–,00.html