Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 65° Clear

Bighorn sheep in Washington tests positive for disease

Oct. 21, 2020 Updated Wed., Oct. 21, 2020 at 9:17 p.m.

Associated Press

Associated Press

YAKIMA – A bighorn sheep from the Cleman Mountain herd in central Washington has tested positive for a lethal disease, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said this week.

A hunter in the area saw a dead lamb and other lambs that were acting lethargic. Upon investigation, biologists found a dead lamb and collected samples for testing. That test came back positive for the bacteria that causes pneumonia in wild bighorn populations, the agency said.

The department will monitor the herd and collect lung and nasal swab samples from any animals harvested during this season’s remaining special permit hunts. More samples will help the department determine the extent of the disease outbreak in the Cleman Mountain herd.

The bacteria is usually fatal across a significant portion of the herd, the agency said.

There is no treatment for wild bighorn sheep, and no preventative vaccine.

Past pneumonia outbreaks among bighorn sheep in Washington and other parts of the western United States have been linked to contact between wild sheep and domestic sheep or goats that carry mycoplasma but are unaffected by the bacteria.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.