The risk level of Bovine Tuberculosis in far West Texas will be the topic at a special meeting this week at the Hudspeth County Courthouse in Sierra Blanca as Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) and Texas Department of Animal Health (TAHC) officials address deer and elk hunters, property owners and interested citizens who have expressed concern over the health and safety of the region's mule deer and elk population.

State officials have organized the meeting in an effort to encourage input on an expanded TB surveillance program that requires hunters to submit tissue samples of harvested cervid in parts of El Paso and Hudspeth counties during the season. The TB surveillance program is being conducted in association with an active Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) tissue collection program already in progress.

In addition to tissue sampling of elk and mule deer, the TB surveillance program also includes testing of susceptible cattle, sheep, goats, and swine. Cervid that have been and will continue to be tested include exotic hoof-stock, free ranging deer and captive cervids.


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Bovine tuberculosis is a chronic, debilitating disease of cattle caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis. Human tuberculosis is caused by a closely related type of bacteria and was historically known as "consumption." A variety of other species may be susceptible to cattle tuberculosis, including captive elk and exotic deer, bison, goats, swine, man and even cats. Sheep and horses are rarely affected.

Bovine TB is primarily a respiratory disease affecting lungs and chest lymph nodes of animals. Symptoms can include progressive weight loss, chronic cough, and unexplained death losses.