In middle school I did a report on Burcellosis, otherwise knows as Rock Fever, Undulant Fever, Gibraltar Fever, and many other names, an infectious disease caused by a bacteria called Brucella. In severe outbreaks of Brucellosis, entire herds of cattle will be mandated to be sent to the slaughterhouses to prevent the spread of the disease.

While an investigation into how the 7-year-old cow bison contracted the disease is expected to take several months, evidence suggests elk transmitted the brucellosis to the bison. No wild bison roam the Flying D, and the ranch hasn't brought a domestic bison from outside the ranch for more than a decade.

Montana is one of the 48 states that are designated "Brucellosis-free" by the Department of Agriculture. Texas and Idaho are the only states that do not have this declaration.

Along with the state keeping its brucellosis-free status, Zaluski said he does not foresee Turner Enterprises having to send the entire bison herd to slaughter, a step ranchers have been required to take in past years.

Instead, the Flying D Ranch will be required to test bison for brucellosis before they are shipped to slaughter and then again before they are slaughtered, Zaluski said. The ranch is also barred from moving any of the bison to other ranches while it is under quarantine.

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