GILLETTE (WNE) – More than 50 pronghorn have died near Gillette from the same bacteria that killed more than 75 of them last year.

The outbreak is being investigated by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in collaboration with the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory.

The deaths north of Gillette were noted beginning Feb. 15 and are blamed preliminarily on Mycoplasma bovis. Game and Fish is monitoring the situation and has sent field personnel to the area. The department is working with Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory researchers to study the outbreak in more detail.

The source of infection of the M.bovis, the ability to predict the duration and the geographic distribution of this outbreak in pronghorn are unknown at this point, the Game and Fish Department said in a press release.

Game and Fish continues to monitor for the disease across the state. With the exception of the Gillette area, this bacteria has not been reported as associated with significant mortality in other wildlife populations in Wyoming.

To date, this pathogen has not been shown to affect domestic pets like horses, dogs or cats and is not considered a human health risk.

Mycoplasma bovis should not be confused with Mycobacterium bovis that causes tuberculosis in cattle. They are two unrelated bacteria that cause very different diseases, Game and Fish officials said.

Area residents who see or find sick or dead pronghorn are encouraged to contact the local game warden, biologist or Sheridan Regional Game and Fish office, (307) 672-7418.

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