COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Deer hunters in Michigan are being urged to take precautions to prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis.
According to a CDC publication, a 77-year-old man contracted pulmonary tuberculosis in 2017. He had no other known exposure to the bacteria, aside from deer hunting.
Analysis suggested he was exposed to a strain of M. bovis through his hunting activities and the disease reactivated itself in 2017.
Tuberculosis is a disease caused by bacteria that affects the respiratory system of animals and humans. bTB is spread through coughing, sneezing and exchanging saliva. The CDC recommends hunters use personal protective equipment while field dressing deer.
Cases of bovine tuberculosis spreading to humans are very rare. There are fewer than 230 cases of bovine tuberculosis reported in humans each year.
Michigan DNR wildlife veterinarian Kelly Straka told WEYI Michigan is the only state in the country that has established bTB in wild deer. Seventy-eight percent of those were in four counties.
Michigan DNR says the signs of a deer being infected aren’t always readily recognized by hunters. Small lesions and abscesses may not be visible when field dressing deer. Most infected deer appear healthy.