By Jenna Colton and Klydi Heywood

The first case of Brucellosis in Utah was confirmed today by the Cache Valley Fish and Game Department. The disease was found in an elk that was shot in Richmond, Utah. The elk was identified as an Idaho elk.

“We’re concerned about how wide spread this disease is,” said Tony Taylor of the Utah Fish and Game. “It’s a very infective disease and if this spreads it could wipe out the entire population.”

Taylor explained that Brucellosis spreads very similarly to the West Nile Virus — spread by mosquitoes.

“It’s been coming for a while,” Taylor said. “It just works its way across the country, first in Montana, then Idaho, now Utah.”

Jean Simmons, U.S. Department of Agriculture animal and plant specialist, explained that the disease can travel from elk to cattle to buffalo or even humans.

According to Simmons, the disease is not fatal, but it causes abortions.

“It’s bloody and messy,” Simmons said.

Vaccinations are available, but its only preventative and not a cure.

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