Brucellosis detected in Wyoming elk hunt area

Cheyenne – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has detected brucellosis in Elk Hunt Area 45 in the Bighorn Mountains. The disease was detected in a hunter-harvest bull elk in October.

Last week the blood sample submitted to the Wildlife Health Laboratory tested positive for brucellosis. The positive detection was confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. The Wyoming Livestock Board is working closely with Game and Fish to monitor the disease.

Brucellosis has not been documented in livestock in this area.

“Livestock producers are reminded that there is no risk of spread of brucellosis from bull elk to cattle,” said Dr. Hallie Hasel, Wyoming state veterinarian. “Livestock surveillance may be initiated if cow elk are found positive in this region.”

Game and Fish will increase surveillance efforts in the Bighorn Mountains in 2023 to determine the extent and distribution of the disease. Brucellosis was first detected on the western slope of the Bighorn Mountains in 2012, but has not been detected since 2016.

Brucellosis is a disease caused by the bacteria Brucella abortus, and is a concern for the livestock industry. Elk, bison and domestic cattle are susceptible to brucellosis, which may cause animals to abort calves and further transmit the disease. Brucellosis is transmitted primarily through contact of animals with infected aborted fetuses, placentas, bodily fluids, or milk and ingestion of the bacteria.