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Deer Will Be Tested for Tuberculosis

From the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

-- Samples of white-tailed deer will be collected in Knox County beginning this week and tested for tuberculosis.

The tests will help determine if the disease has spread from a captive herd of elk and fallow deer in the area to free-ranging deer. Bovine tuberculosis recently was detected in the captive herd.

“We don't expect to find any deer with tuberculosis, but testing is prudent in this circumstance,” said Jim Douglas, administrator of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Wildlife Division.

The Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Wildlife Services will begin taking approximately 40 whitetails near the captive herd. Collection will occur on private land with landowner permission.

The Commission is coordinating with the USDA's Veterinary Services and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, where the samples will be tested.

Results of the testing will be made public. Test results should be available after a few weeks.

This will not be the first time Nebraska deer are tested for tuberculosis. The Commission collected and had tested 276 samples in 1998, with no positives resulting from the tests.

Tuberculosis is a slow, progressive disease and is difficult to diagnose in the early stages. As the disease progresses, animals may exhibit emaciation, lethargy, weakness, anorexia, low-grade fever and pneumonia with a chronic, moist cough.

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