Michigan Hunter Contracts Bovine TB
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - A hunter was diagnosed with a rare human
case of an animal lung disease called bovine tuberculosis after he
cut his hand while gutting an infected deer, state health officials
He is the first living person diagnosed with the strain of bovine
tuberculosis that has been found in some northern Michigan deer and
cattle in recent years, said T.J. Bucholz, spokesman for the Michigan
Department of Community Health. The disease - difficult for humans
to get but highly contagious in animals - has saddled farmers with
costly testing requirements and limits to how they market their cattle
in neighboring states.
Officials would not release the hunter's name or home town, but
said the deer was killed in Alcona County. The man is in good condition
and is being treated with antibiotics, Bucholz said.
The same strain of bovine TB was found during an autopsy of an elderly
person who died in 2002, but it was not the cause of death, he said.
Eradication programs and milk pasteurization have reduced the number
of human cases over the years. Different strains of the disease have
been found in eight people from foreign countries in Michigan since
The hunter in the new case sought medical attention after cutting
his hand while removing the innards of the deer and noticing lesions
in the animal's chest cavity, Bucholz said. The rare human cases
usually are caused by breathing barn air infected by a sick cow or
drinking unpasteurized milk from an infected cow.
"This appearance of bovine TB in a human underscores the human
health risk of the disease in free-ranging deer," said Janet
Olszewski, state community health director. "People should not
consume wild animals that appear or are confirmed to be sick, regardless
of the circumstance."
Michigan lost its federal bovine TB-free status in 2000, six years
after discovery of an infected deer. State officials have ordered
testing of the state's nearly 1 million cattle, and some herds have
undergone multiple testing, said Bridget Patrick, coordinator of
the state's eradication task force.
Because the bacteria grow extremely slowly and tend to remain dormant,
there is no reliable way to ensure the disease has been eliminated
from an infected herd. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends
killing herds known to have it.
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