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Free Content Mycobacterium bovis (bovine TB) exposure as a recreational risk for hunters: results of a Michigan Hunter Survey, 2001

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SETTING: Tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium bovis (bovine TB) is endemic in the white-tailed deer population of north-eastern Michigan. Hunters may be ex-posed to M. bovis via cutaneous inoculation while field dressing deer or by ingestion of undercooked venison. Michigan hunters have received inconsistent messages about their risk of acquiring tuberculosis from recreational exposure to deer. The most common health advice offered has been to wear gloves while field dressing deer and to cook venison products thoroughly.

OBJECTIVE: Data were collected to quantify these self-protective activities and to characterize hunters practicing these activities.

DESIGN: In 2001, we surveyed 1833 hunters who had successfully harvested deer in or near Michigan's bovine TB endemic area in 2000.

RESULTS: The survey response rate was 78%. Most hunters (89%) reported field dressing deer, 43% of whom wore gloves. Most hunters (95%) reported eating venison, 55% of whom reported their venison was always cooked thoroughly. Several hunter characteristics, including older age, female sex, higher awareness level, and area of residence, were significantly associated with the practice of these self-protective activities.

CONCLUSION: The survey results suggest that hunters should receive consistent advice encouraging glove use while field dressing deer and the thorough cooking of venison products before consumption.

Keywords: Mycobacterium bovis; humans; tuberculosis; wildlife

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Bureau of Epidemiology, Michigan Department of Community Health, Lansing, Michigan, USA; College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA; and Veterinary Services, APHIS, United States Department of Agriculture, East Lansing, Michigan, USA 2: College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA 3: Division of Wildlife Disease, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lansing, Michigan, USA 4: Bureau of Epidemiology, Michigan Department of Community Health, Lansing, Michigan, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2003

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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