CDC Warns Hunters to Watch Out for Tuberculosis in Deers

Kansas and Missouri aren't at high risk for the disease, but hunters who travel should be aware of the risks.

KMBZ News Staff
September 30, 2019 - 5:47 am

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KMBZ) -- Hunters in Kansas and Missouri wait all year long for it, but hunting isn't always as easy as shooting and bagging a deer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning that it's possible for humans to contract tuberculosis from deer infected with the disease.

Shane Hesting, Wildlife Disease Coordinator with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, told KMBZ that there have not been reports of tuberculosis in deer in Kansas or Missouri, but other states, like Montana and Michigan, have reported the disease, and that could be down to climate. 

"Back in the 1800s, a lot of people moved to drier climates because the bacteria thrives more in wetter climates," Hesting said. 

And because hunting enthusiasts often travel to hunt, Heisting says they should know what to look out for, but it's important to be careful, even when hunting closer to home. 

"Sometimes, once a disease has manifested a long time in an animal, you will start to see outward symptoms," Hesting explained. "Like maceration, or thinness, staggering, loss of fear of humans, something is going on."

According to the CDC, the only reported cases of humans contracting tuberculosis from deer are in Michigan.

Health professionals believe a man inhaled infectious pathogens as he was field dressing a deer.

If you're worried a deer you shot could be harmful, officials say to leave it where you shot it and call authorities - they'll take it from there.

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