Submitted to: North American Deer Farmers Annual Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/27/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium bovis was discovered in a 4-year-old, white-tailed deer during the 1994 hunting season in northeast Michigan (MI). Since then, several wildlife surveys have been conducted and M. bovis has been isolated from 77 tissue samples collected from wild, white-tailed deer and from one coyote harvested from a five-county region of northeastern MI. M. bovis was also isolated from a MI cow in 1994 and from a Wisconsin (WI) heifer in 1995. In 1997, M. bovis was isolated from white-tailed deer from a captive herd in Presque Isle county. DNA fingerprinting of these M. bovis isolates was done by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis. There were nine different RFLP types among the M. bovis isolates from deer. The RFLP patterns for 53 of the wild deer isolates were identical to the patterns for isolates from the captive deer, coyote, MI cow, and WI heifer. The RFLP patterns for an additional 16 wild deer isolates differed from the patterns for the 53 isolates by the presence of one extra band when DNA was probed with a secondary probe. The remaining eight wild deer isolates had RFLP patterns that differed by more than one band. Results of this study indicate that most of the wild, white-tailed deer are infected with a common strain of M. bovis. Minor differences observed in RFLP patterns are consistent with the suggestion that this population of wild deer has been infected for many years with sufficient time for normal recombination events to result in genetic changes. When the captive, white-tailed deer herd was established, some wild, white-tailed deer were living within the area that was enclosed. It is likely that some of the deer were already infected with M. bovis when they were captured.