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Elk tested positive for brucellosis found in hunt area 40

SHERIDAN — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Wyoming Livestock Board released additional information Wednesday about two elk that tested positive for brucellosis in the Bighorn Mountains.

Both elk, one bull and one cow, were harvested by hunters during the 2012 hunting season in elk hunt area 40, approximately 15 miles west of Burgess Junction. The bull was reported harvested on Oct. 18 in the Bear Creek drainage. The cow was reported harvested on Oct. 16 on Bald Mountain. Both hunters submitted blood samples to the WGFD as part of the department’s statewide voluntary brucellosis surveillance program. Through this program, samples are collected from hunters in the fall and early winter, then analyzed at the WGFD lab throughout the winter.

“At this point, we don’t know how or where these elk were exposed to brucellosis,” WGFD Chief Game Warden Brian Nesvik said. “We will increase our sampling for brucellosis in this area during the 2013 elk hunting season to begin to get a better idea of how prevalent the disease might be.”

Brucellosis has not been documented in livestock in this area. The Wyoming State Veterinarian and Livestock Board are working closely with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to determine potential risks to the cattle industry.

“Our approach will be to minimize impacts to livestock producers while proactively conducting risk assessments and determining surveillance testing needs,” Wyoming Livestock Board Director Leanne Correll said. “Discussions between the Livestock Board, producers, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and Brucellosis Coordination Team will occur prior to implementing any additional livestock surveillance testing.”

The Wyoming Brucellosis Coordination Team will meet April 3 in Lander. These new cases in elk will be on the team’s meeting agenda. WGFD and WLSB are planning a public meeting in the Greybull area on April 4 to discuss this issue with producers and others.

Brucellosis has been present for nearly a century in elk and bison in the Greater Yellowstone Area, including the northwest corner of Wyoming. For more information on brucellosis, visit: wyomingbrucellosis.com.

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