LANSING--The Michigan Departments of Natural Resources (DNR), Agriculture, and Community Health, and Michigan State University (MSU) announced today that preliminary tests show a five-year-old, hunter-harvested female elk from Montmorency County likely was infected with bovine tuberculosis (TB). Although further testing will be required to confirm those results, experts involved with the testing are confident it will be positive. This is the first free-ranging elk in Michigan to be infected with the disease. Since 1996, 760 elk have been tested for TB. Elk hunters are required to bring their elk^s head to a DNR office for TB testing. Michigan has a free-ranging elk herd of approximately 1,100 animals located mainly in Cheboygan, Otsego, and Montmorency counties.
"We have also found 49 TB positives from more than 25,000 deer samples that have been tested so far this year," said Dr. Stephen Schmitt, DNR Wildlife Veterinarian. According to Dr. Schmitt, preliminary testing results show that 46 white-tailed deer from Deer Management Unit 452 in the five-county area in northeast Michigan (Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency, Oscoda, and Presque Isle counties) and three additional deer, one each from Crawford, Otsego, and Emmet counties, have been diagnosed as bovine TB positive.
The Bovine TB Eradication Project is a multi-agency team of experts from the Michigan departments of Agriculture, Community Health, and Natural Resources; Michigan State University; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Since the DNR began testing deer in Michigan in 1995, a total of 334 deer have been found positive from 62,790 deer surveyed. To date, more than 250,000 livestock also have been tested for bovine TB. With over 4,900 farms tested, only 11 cattle farms and one privately owned cervid farm have been diagnosed with bovine TB. Ongoing surveillance efforts of carnivores in northeast Michigan has resulted in 22 bovine TB-positive animals including two bobcats, a domestic cat, four black bear, ten coyotes, two opossums, two raccoons, and a red fox. Research at MSU has shown that the DNR bovine TB isolate from all of these animals, including the deer and cattle, is identical.