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Deer Can Pass Tuberculosis on to Humans, CDC Warns

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning hunters that deer can pass on tuberculosis to humans after learning of possible transmission.

In May 2017, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services learned of a case of pulmonary tuberculosis caused by the Mycobacterium bovis in a 77-year-old man.

CDC officials learned that although the patient wasn’t around anyone with tuberculosis, he had regularly hunted and field-dressed deer. Investigators learned that free-ranging deer in the area were often infected with M. bovis, according to KTLA sister station KFOR in Oklahoma City.

As a result, researchers have found a few other cases where an animal infected with tuberculosis actually spread the disease to humans. However, they say it is understudied.

The bacteria can be inhaled while the deer is field-dressed, according to the CDC.

“To prevent exposure to M. bovis and other diseases, hunters are encouraged to use personal protective equipment while field-dressing deer,” the CDC says.

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