Hunters warned to look out for bovine tuberculosis in wild deer

(Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

LANSING, Mich. (AP and KWCH) — Michigan officials say bovine tuberculosis recently was confirmed in a large beef herd in Alcona County.

It’s the 73rd cattle herd to be identified with bovine TB in the state since 1998.

Bovine TB is a bacterial disease that also has infected free-ranging whitetail deer in parts of the northeastern Lower Peninsula.

The Department of Natural Resources says there are signs of bovine TB hunters may observe when field-dressing a deer.

Lesions may develop on the surface of the animal's lungs and chest cavity. In severely infected deer, lesions can sometimes be found throughout the animal's entire body. Tan or yellow lumps may also line the chest wall and be in the lung tissue.

Cattle in Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Oscoda counties must be tested before they are moved off the farm, which can help prevent the illness from spreading.

Assistant State Veterinarian Nancy Barr says farmers in that area should do all they can to prevent deer from having contact with cattle feeding and watering areas.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will host meetings to discuss the latest findings Oct. 29 in Mio and Nov. 1 in Hillman.