To determine if Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis has persisted in tule elk (Cervus elaphus nannodes) at Point Reyes National Seashore (California, USA), 100 fresh fecal samples were collected. Feces were cultured on a modified BACTEC 12B radiometric medium for detection of M. avium paratuberculosis. Four samples, coming from two separate groups of elk tested positive for M. avium paratuberculosis. Thus, a noninvasive technique was used to document the continued presence of M. avium paratuberculosis in elk at Point Reyes National Seashore. These findings document persistence of this organism for a period of at least 13 yr in a free ranging herd of elk, with a 6 yr absence of observed clinical signs.
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