Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks tested 43 elk in the East Fork and West Fork of the Bitterroot Valley in February. Blood samples, which are part of a larger 3-year study, showed no signs of brucellosis.
The bacterial infection is contagious and was found recently in elk in the Ruby Valley near Dillon. Officials have noticed a higher percentage of brucellosis since the 1990s -- from 2 percent then to 5 to 16 percent now. Brucellosis can cause pregnant cattle, bison and elk to abort their calves.
Elk in the Bitterroot are being studied to determine factors effecting their survival in the area.