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Thursday, August 9 • 9:40am - 10:00am
Disease 2 Track: Persistent Transmission Of Bovine Tuberculosis From White-tailed Deer To Cattle In Michigan, USA: Mitigation Strategies And Needs

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AUTHORS: Kurt Vercauteren, Michael Lavelle – USDA/APHIS/ Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center; Henry Campa, III, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Free-ranging white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are a self-sustaining reservoir for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in northeastern lower Michigan, U.S.A., with a prevalence rate of about 1-2% persisting over recent decades. Though a comprehensive program is in place and on-farm mitigation strategies to manage against bTB transmission from deer to cattle have been implemented for over a decade, cattle continue to become infected with the disease. Continual detections of bTB in cattle on farms in the region is of mounting concern for state and federal agricultural agencies, producers, wildlife managers and the public. Current on-farm efforts to curtail transmission include a variety of fencing options, using livestock protection dogs, and clean cattle feeding and watering practices. Liberal harvest of antlerless deer through hunter harvest and permits issued to cattle producers and agency sharp shooters has also been ongoing. Though all of these strategies have merit and the level of effort to reduce prevalence in deer and protect cattle is high, additional management actions are needed to overcome this incessant problem. These actions could include the implementation of a program to vaccinate deer against bTB, landscape-scale habitat alteration, and fine-scale removal of deer in proximity to vulnerable farms. Vaccine development and foundational research to address delivery to free-ranging deer is complete. Deer population responses to the manipulation of forest vegetation types are generally understood and sustainable habitat management could reduce deer numbers and their distribution in the region while enhancing regional wildlife, forestry and agricultural goals. The responses of local deer populations to targeted removal of individuals are also generally understood, and the potential exists to greatly decrease deer densities and presence around agricultural operations while they persist on natural foods in nearby forested habitat. Here we summarize the progress to date, discuss the merit of these newly suggested strategies, and provide options for a way forward to rid deer and cattle in Michigan of bTB.

940AM pdf

Thursday August 9, 2018 9:40am - 10:00am
Assembly Hall C
  • Slides Available Yes

Attendees (3)