CDC: Deer Can Transmit Tuberculosis to Hunters

by Thorsten Spoerlein (
Thorsten Spoerlein/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning in a report released this month that deer can transmit certain strains of tuberculosis to hunters.

The CDC said an unnamed 77-year-old Michigan man contracted a case of bovine tuberculosis in 2017 after he spent two decades hunting deer, according to the report.

The report mentioned that the man had hunted in an area where two other hunters contracted the disease more than a decade ago.

The CDC predicts the man came into contact with bovine tuberculosis while he was removing a deer’s infected organs from its body.

Bovine tuberculosis is a rare strain of the disease, representing less than two percent of all cases in the U.S., CNN reported.

The disease has been eliminated in most cattle bred for consumption but is still found in deer, bison, and elk.

The most common way people can be infected by this pathogen is by drinking or eating unpasteurized dairy products.

Symptoms include chest pain, weight loss, fever, and cough, and the normal course of treatment for the illness is antibiotics, according to a WebMD fact sheet on the illness.

The CDC added that while it is rare for the average person to contract this disease, those who work with animals or consume raw dairy products should be screened for tuberculosis.


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