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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Transmission of Mycobacterim Bovis from White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus Virginianus) to Cattle Through Indirect Contact

item Whipple, Diana
item Waters, Wade
item Palmer, Mitchell

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 18, 2003
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: White-tailed deer in northeast Michigan are recognized as a wildlife reservoir host species of Mycobacterium bovis. Since 1998, tuberculosis has been diagnosed in 29 herds of cattle in northeast Michigan. Results of DNA fingerprinting indicate that the cattle are infected with the same strain of M. bovis as the deer. The purpose of this study was to determine if cattle can become infected with M. bovis through indirect contact with experimentally infected deer and contaminated feed. The study was divided into three phases and a different group of calves and deer were used for each phase. In phase 1, deer were experimentally infected with M. bovis and after two weeks, calves were introduced into the barn. Deer were offered excess feed each day. In the mornings, calves were moved to the soiled deer pens and given access to the feed. Deer were moved to clean pens and again offered excess feed. In phase 2, groups of calves were given feed spiked with a high and low dosage of M. bovis. In phase 3, deer were experimentally infected with M. bovis as in phase 1; however, the feed was moved between pens of deer and calves rather than moving the animals. In all three phases, calves became infected with M. bovis and had lesions suggestive of an inhalation route of exposure.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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