Wildlife Disease and Zoonotics


Date of this Version



Published in Veterinary Record (2002) 151, 149-150.


In 1994, a free-living white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Michigan was diagnosed with tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium bovis (Schmitt and others 1997). Subsequent surveys conducted by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan State University Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory identified an epidemic of M bovis infection in free-living white-tailed deer in northeast Michigan (Schmitt and others 1997, O'Brien and others 2001). This represents the first known reservoir of M bovis in free-living wildlife in the USA, and the first known epidemic of tuberculosis in white-tailed deer anywhere in the world.