Health/Science/Environment

Deer can transfer tuberculosis to human beings, says CDC

Deer can transfer tuberculosis to human beings, says CDC
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The CDC has discovered another uncommon way the humans can contract a disease from animals. Fortunately, this one does not involve kisses you receive from pets.

A man from Michigan came up with a case of pulmonary tuberculosis in 2017, after over 20 years of hunting. The 77-year-old man contracted tuberculosis from a deer infected with mycobacterium bovis.

The man neither had any exposure to an individual infected with tuberculosis nor did he consume unpasteurized milk. However, he had hunted down a deer in the exact same region where 2 other hunters had contracted the virus over 15 years ago.

The unnamed patient most likely inhaled the infectious bovine tuberculosis pathogens while field-dressing the infected deer after hunting, says CDC.

This is the second case to be confirmed by the CDC related to disease-bearing animals this month. Previously, 13 percent people had contracted salmonella due to kissing their poultry chickens. The health officials had then urged owners of chicken to stop snuggling, kissing as well as sharing their own homes along with their fowl.

Contracting bovine tuberculosis is pretty rare, with it accounting less than two percent of overall TB cases across the US. Bovine tuberculosis strain is often found in elk, bison and cattle as well as deer, as per the CDC.

Most people contract the infection due to drinking or eating unpasteurized dairy items. Moreover, people can also get the infection through direct contact with the body tissue or fluids of infected animals.

The symptoms seem quite similar to a typical case of TB: severe fever, cough, chest pain and weight loss. It is treated in the same way too, except that bovine tuberculosis tends to resist pyrazinamide, an antibiotic used for treating TB, said the CDC.

The average bovine tuberculosis risk in a person is low. However, any person who consumes raw dairy items or is a dairy worker should be screened for tuberculosis regularly, said the CDC.

About the author

Tori Holland

Tori Holland

After being a professional journalist for 5 years and understanding the ups and downs of health care sector all over the world, Tori shifted her focus to the digital world. Today, she works as a contributor for News Brig with a knack for covering general and health news in the best possible format.

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