Elk Tuberculosis Investigation
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is investigating methods of surveying deer and elk near an eastern Oregon ranch where a captive elk contracted tuberculosis. This is being done to determine if the disease is present in wild populations, the Commission heard Friday.

There is no indication of tuberculosis in Oregon wildlife at this time. However, well-worn elk trails exist along the ranch fence lines and a wild elk was seen in the facility recently. The highest risk for disease transmission occurs with "nose to nose" contact.

An elk that died in November on Rudio Creek Ranch near Kimberly, Oregon tested positive for tuberculosis (TB). Since that time, ODFW and the Oregon Department of Agriculture have worked with the ranch owner to quarantine the elk and cattle on the ranch and limit potential contact with wild deer and elk herds.

Two additional captive elk have died on the ranch since November, apparently due to conditions of weight loss and diarrhea. All the cattle and captive elk will be tested with a nonlethal skin test this month. However, the skin test has been shown to provide false negatives on elk up to 30 percent of the time.

The presence of TB in cattle can result in additional testing requirements and restrictions for ranch owners. Oregon is currently a "TB-free" state.

Dr. Jack Mortenson, ODFW's deer and elk program manager, is working closely with the Oregon Department of Agriculture to monitor the captive elk herd and test both wild and captive elk. He told the Commission a public meeting will be held in the town of Monument next month to provide results of the skin tests.

More information is posted to the ODFW website at:

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