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Two Cases of Bovine Tuberculosis Identified at Farmed Cervid Facilities in Sanilac and Alcona Counties

Cases were found through routine testing

LANSING, MI — The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is reporting two cases of bovine tuberculosis (TB) at privately-owned (farmed) cervid facilities in Sanilac and Alcona counties. The cases were found through routine surveillance testing and are the fifth and sixth farmed cervid facilities to be identified with bovine TB. The last cervid facility affected with the disease was discovered in 2009.

While bovine TB is a bacterial disease that is present in the free-ranging white-tailed deer population of specific areas of northeastern lower Michigan, it can affect all mammals—including other livestock (like cervids) and even humans. Cervids include all species of deer, elk, moose, and other members of the Cervidae family.

"The Animal Industry Division within MDARD is committed to addressing bovine TB within our state. Since the disease can impact farmed cervids, our routine surveillance efforts help us to detect the disease early and limit its spread," said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland, DVM. “A key part of the current investigation will be whole-genome sequencing, which involves a comprehensive analysis of DNA from the bovine TB bacteria and will help determine the source of the infection.”

The whole-genome sequencing results may take up to three months to be completed.

Although it has been multiple years since this disease has been detected in farmed cervid species, bovine TB is found in free-ranging deer every year in Michigan. While state and federal agencies are taking significant steps to manage the disease, the continued hunting of deer in Michigan is a vital tool in maintaining healthy deer populations and livestock herds.

More information about bovine TB can be found at Michigan.gov/BovineTB.