Statewide Brucellosis Surveillance Program
Enters Year Four
by Wyoming Game & Fish
September 30, 2007
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will be asking hunters
to collect blood samples from harvested elk for brucellosis surveillance again this year. The department will be mailing blood collection kits to 6,200 hunters who received elk licenses around Sheridan and the Black Hills, and in select hunt areas in northwest Wyoming around Cody. Participation in this voluntary program is critical to its success.
Statewide brucellosis surveillance was one of the recommendations of the Wyoming Governor's Brucellosis Coordination Team to assess the threat of brucellosis throughout the state. The Game and Fish has approached this task by dividing the state into quadrants, sampling a quadrant each year.
Last year the northwest quadrant of Wyoming was surveyed. Of the approximately 5,000 kits sent, 571 were returned with useable elk blood samples. Next year, the Game and Fish plans to shift surveillance to the southeast corner of the state and continue targeted brucellosis surveillance in northwestern Wyoming on winter elk feedgrounds.
"We have been very successful in accurately surveying the elk herds of the state to determine brucellosis occurrence," said Hank Edwards, Game and Fish wildlife disease specialist, who heads the surveillance effort.
“Hunters have been receptive to helping us in our efforts. We would like to thank them for their cooperation."
Hunters can help insure a useable sample by taking blood directly from a vein or artery while field dressing the animal. The blood should not be frozen. As soon as possible after returning from the field, hunters should mail the sample in the pre-posted mailer provided with the blood kit.
Individual results are not reported to hunters because brucellosis isn't a human health concern during the months of October and November, when the majority of elk are harvested. However, the Game and Fish recommends that hunters always use protective gloves and exercise caution when using knives and tools while field dressing animals.
Wyoming regained its Brucellosis Class-Free Status in September 2006. The Game and Fish will continue surveillance in elk in order to cooperate in the management of this disease.
For more information on brucellosis, please contact the Jackson Regional Game and Fish Department office at (307) 733-2321 or (800) 423-4113 (in-state only).