ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Alaska hunters are helping the state assess the extent of a bacterium in game animals that could cause respiratory problems.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says hunters helped collect laboratory samples from more than 330 Dall sheep.

Hunters also provided specimens from 110 mountain goats, 100 caribou and 100 moose.

The department is looking for mycoplasma ovipneumoniae, also known as M.ovi (EM-oh-vee).

The bacterium occurs in domestic and wild sheep and goats in the Lower 48.

Some strains have been identified as pathogens in bighorn sheep pneumonia outbreaks that led to die-offs.

The bacterium this year was detected for the first time in Alaska Dall sheep and mountain goats.

It also was found in a caribou from the Fortymile Herd that died of pneumonia.