FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — With hunting season just around the corner for most Hoosiers, a new disease is on the rise in Michigan that could put a damper on the season.
Bovine Tuberculosis is spreading through northern Michigan and has started to spread outside of its preserved counties affecting local cattle. The currently affected counties in Michigan are Montmorency, Alpena, Oscoda, and Alcona. So why should Hoosiers be concerned about Bovine TB?
Bovine Tuberculosis is a disease commonly found in domestic cattle and the deer family, more specifically white-tailed deer, elk, etc., caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium bovis. Cattle and deer act as reservoir hosts for bovine TB because they can easily reside within the animals and be transmitted to other species. This can be specifically dangerous in white-tail deer as they travel across landscapes and have interaction with multiple cattle herds.
Further concerns occur as the disease can spread to humans who interact with the bacteria through, breathing, coughing, or other airborne transmission. Bovine TB accounts for less than 2% of human cases in the United States. Most of the cases are actually attributed to consuming unpasteurized dairy products which relates back to cattle herds.
The bacteria Mycobacterium bovis affects the lungs, lymph nodes, and other parts of the body so when hunting deer watch out for large white, tan, or yellow lesions on the lung’s rib cage or in the chest cavity. This is not always likely to occur as only 64% of deer showed lesions and only 42% were recognized by hunters.
If a hunter does believe the deer they harvested has bovine TB they should send in a sampling to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and in the meantime, they can harvest and eat the meat as long as it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.