Brucellosis Found in Two Elk in Northern Wyoming

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Brucellosis Found in Two Elk in Northern Wyoming (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Brucellosis Found in Two Elk in Northern Wyoming (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Two elk harvested by hunters in the Big Horn Mountains of northern Wyoming have tested positive for brucellosis, a disease which can cause an animal to abort its fetus. Sheridan Media's Chris Foy has the story.

Brucellosis has been present for close to a century in elk and bison in the Greater Yellowstone Area, including the northwest corner of Wyoming.

Brucellosis is a federally controlled disease, caused by a bacterium called Brucella abortus. State Veterinarian Jim Logan said in a media release it's important for the public to understand brucellosis has not been found in any livestock in our region.

The Wyoming Livestock Board, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Logan are working together to assess the situation and identify appropriate action.

The elk that tested positive were identified through the department's statewide brucellosis surveillance program. Through the program, hunters voluntarily submit blood samples from elk they've harvested. Game and Fish says samples are collected from hunters in the fall and early winter, and then analyzed at the department's lab through the winter.

Logan said he'll be working with livestock producers in the area where the elk were found to ensure they are aware of the situation - and he said they're moving quickly to analyze which actions should be taken. Logan could not be reached for additional comment.

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Brucella is a bacterium that affects many animals - including humans - if they come into contact with infected meat.

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