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Nebraska Deer test negative for tuberculosis

From the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

-- The 42 wild white-tailed deer sampled near a Knox County facility where bovine tuberculosis was detected were free of the disease, recent test results showed.

Biologists with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services (USDA-WS) collected the free-ranging deer in early May within a mile of a facility containing captive elk, several of which tested positive for tuberculosis earlier this spring. Samples from the deer were tested at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL). Biologists with USDA-WS, USDA-Veterinary Services and the Commission assisted the VDL with sample preparation.

The collection and testing of wild deer was necessary to help determine if the disease organism was present outside the captive facility. Deer were collected on private land with landowner permission.

This was not the first time Nebraska deer have been tested for tuberculosis. The Commission collected and tested 271 samples in 1996, with no positives resulting from the tests.

Tuberculosis is a slow, progressive bacterial 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. It usually is transmitted through contact with respiratory secretions from an infected animal.

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