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DNR: Northwest Minnesota deer free of bovine tuberculosis

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The threat of bovine tuberculosis in wild deer in northwestern Minnesota appears to be over.

According to The Associated Press, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Monday that bovine TB was "undetectable" in the region.

The DNR said none of the 325 deer harvested during the 2012 firearms season tested positive for the disease, marking the third consecutive year of negative TB testing results. The sampling took place in deer from a 164-square-mile disease management zone.

"We have accomplished what many believed was not possible," DNR wildlife health program supervisor Michelle Carstensen said in a statement. "By reducing the incidence of TB in wild deer to an undetectable level and hopefully eliminating it, Minnesota has become an international example on how to successfully respond to a disease outbreak that has a significant wildlife component."

The DNR said bovine TB is a progressive and chronic bacterial disease that primarily affects cattle, but also infects wildlife. The state eliminated bovine TB in cattle in 2011.

The agency said bovine TB first turned up in cattle operations and wild deer near the town of Skime, Minn., in 2005.

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