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Scientists find respiratory pathogen in Alaska animals

KENAI, Alaska (AP) – Officials say a respiratory pathogen previously believed to be restricted to sheep and goats has been detected in Alaska moose and caribou.

The Peninsula Clarion reports scientists have identified Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae, known as Movi, in other animal species for the first time, including a bison in Montana and mule deer in New Mexico.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says Movi may have contributed to the death of a caribou in the Fortymile herd last month. Tests confirmed the pathogen’s presence in the caribou’s lungs.

Division of Wildlife Conservation Director Bruce Dale says four Alaska herds have tested positive for the bacterium, but sickness has not been spotted. He says the pathogen may have been in caribou for a while but it is not believed to be “rampantly present.”

Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion, http://www.peninsulaclarion.com

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