August 25, 2016

Indiana: Bovine Tuberculosis Found in Wild White-Tailed Deer

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (INDNR) recently culled a two-year-old doe in Franklin County that tested positive for bovine tuberculosis (TB). This is the first time TB has been found in a wild animal in the state, and the positive test triggers changes in monitoring requirements for hunters. 

“Farmers and hunters in this area have been extremely cooperative and supportive of our efforts over the years,” said Indiana State Veterinarian Bret Marsh in a recent BOAH press release. “We need their help now more than ever as we widen our surveillance efforts. If the disease is out there – either on farms or in the wild – we need to find it.”

Deer hunters in the region should take extra precautions by wearing gloves when field dressing their animals and ensuring all meat is fully cooked. Hunters must submit samples of their whitetails harvested in a specific zone for laboratory testing. More information for affected hunters will be coming from the IN DNR in the near future. Over the last decade, BOAH has found four isolated cases of TB in cattle herds and a cervid farm. 

Bovine TB is a chronic bacterial disease affecting cattle that can be transmitted to any warm-blooded animal. This disease is difficult to diagnose until signs present themselves late in the illness, including weakness, emaciation, lethargy, a low grade fever and a persistent, wet cough. 

Indiana hunters who notice these signs of TB in any wildlife should contact the INDNR at 812-334-3795 or BOAH at 317-544-2405. More information on the investigation can be found on the BOAH website here.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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