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Bovine Tuberculosis outbreak raises concerns over deer hunting season

Flickr | Andy

A cattle herd in Alcona County was found to be infected with Bovine Tuberculosis. The diagnosis raises new concerns over Michigan deer.  

A Bovine Tuberculosis outbreak was detected at an Alcona County cattle farm this week. The infection was detected early due to routine testing, and was easily contained. This herd is the 73rd to be infected in Michigan since 1998.

The outbreak has raised concerns over how Bovine TB may affect hunting season, as whitetail deer in Northeast Michigan remain susceptible to the disease.

James Averill is a state veterinarian with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. He says hunters can be the first line of defense in identifying TB in Michigan’s deer population

“There are many times that the Department of Natural Resources is only finding it in their lymph nodes, in the head of the deer,” Averill says, “that’s why we encourage hunters to submit their deer heads to the deer check stations to see of they had Bovine Tuberculosis.”

Averill says even in Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency, and Oscoda counties, where the disease is most common, it only affects an average of one to two percent of deer.

The Department of Natural Resources provides deer check stations to make sure any deer harvested are free of diseases and safe to eat. To find a deer check station near you, click here: