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Indiana plans deer cull to test for bovine tuberculosis

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources 

-- Indiana conservation officers from the Department of Natural Resources will cull up to 30 white-tailed deer this week in a targeted area of Franklin County to help determine if bovine tuberculosis has spread to wild populations.

Three southeast Indiana facilities with captive cervids – deer or elk – have tested positive for the disease since May, according to the Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH). The DNR has worked cooperatively with BOAH and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on surveillance procedures for the ongoing investigation, which now shifts to testing wildlife.

The DNR has communicated directly with all Franklin County property owners in the vicinity of the targeted deer cull and has their cooperation.

Deer carcasses from the cull will be placed in a refrigerated truck, after which BOAH veterinarians will collect tissue samples for testing at the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University.

Bovine tuberculosis is a chronic bacterial disease that affects primarily cattle. There is only a remote chance of humans contracting the bacteria from deer, and that risk is reduced further when proper food handling and cooking precautions are used.

Indiana DNR and BOAH for several years have provided educational materials and guidance on bovine TB in white-tailed deer, including advice to hunters and meat processors on what they should look for when field dressing or processing deer taken during the hunting seasons.

For more information on deer health issues, visit IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/2842.htm.

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