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Two elk test positive for brucellosis in Bighorn Mountains

CHEYENNE – Two elk harvested by hunters in the Bighorn Mountains of northern Wyoming have tested positive for brucellosis. Brucellosis has been present for nearly a century in elk and bison in the Greater Yellowstone Area, including the northwest corner of Wyoming.

Brucellosis in cattle, elk, and bison is caused by a bacterium, Brucella abortus.

The disease can cause an animal to abort its fetus.

The positive elk were identified through the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s statewide brucellosis surveillance program, in which hunters voluntarily submit blood samples from harvested elk. Samples are collected from hunters in the fall and early winter, then analyzed at the WGFD lab throughout the winter.

The Wyoming Livestock Board, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and the State Veterinarian are collaborating to assess the situation and identify appropriate action.


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Tom Cotton

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