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Test results reveal more Missouri deer with deadly CWD

(MGN Online)

On Thursday, the Missouri Department of Conservation announced 28 more deer from 11 Missouri counties have been found to have chronic wasting disease. This brings the number of cases of the deadly deer disease in Missouri to 103 since 2012.

The CWD-positive deer were from the following counties: Adair (2), Crawford (1), Franklin (5), Jefferson (1), Linn (2), Macon (4), Mercer (1), Oregon (3), Ste Genevieve (7), Stone (1), and Taney (1).

The results come after MDC collected tissue samples for CWD testing from more than 28,000 deer over this past summer and throughout the fall deer-hunting season. That number includes more than 20,000 tissue samples collected during MDC’s “mandatory CWD sampling” during the opening weekend of the fall firearms deer season. During the weekend, MDC staff collected tissue samples from deer harvested by hunters in 31 counties in or near where the disease has already been found. The number also includes more than 8,000 tissue samples collected from hunter-harvested deer through MDC’s statewide voluntary CWD-sampling efforts during the past deer season, road-killed deer, and “sick-looking” deer reported to MDC.

CWD is a deadly illness in white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family, called cervids. CWD is spread from deer to deer through direct contact and through contact with soil, food, and water that have been contaminated through feces, urine, saliva, or carcasses of infected deer. CWD kills all deer and other cervids it infects.

“Eight of the CWD detections were from hunter-harvested deer sampled by taxidermists or meat processors, who are all very important partners in helping us find cases of CWD,” said MDC Wildlife Disease Coordinator Jasmine Batten. “Of the remaining 20 positives, 15 were from hunter-harvested deer sampled at our mandatory sampling stations, four were from hunter-harvested deer sampled by MDC staff outside of opening weekend through our voluntary sampling program, and one was from a found dead deer.”

Batten added that CWD was detected in four new areas of the state this season:

Southwest Missouri in northeast Stone County near Reeds Spring;

Southwest Missouri in southern Taney County on Drury-Mincy Conservation Area;

Southeast Missouri in west-central Oregon County near Alton; and

North- Central Missouri in Mercer County north of Mercer approximately two miles from the Iowa border.

MDC noted that hundreds of cases of CWD have been found in northwest Arkansas bordering southern Missouri, and CWD has also been found in Wayne County, Iowa, which borders northern Missouri.

“In the new areas, the number of CWD positives is low, indicating the disease was likely recently introduced in those locations,” explained Batten. “Overall, where CWD occurs throughout the state, the number of infected deer also remains low, which indicates that CWD is relatively rare in the state – and we want to keep it that way. If left unchecked, CWD could dramatically decrease the overall health and number of deer in Missouri over time.”

MDC has tested nearly 130,000 deer for CWD since it began its efforts in 2001. For the most current CWD numbers and more information, visit the MDC website and click under “CWD in Missouri.”

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