Ozark Outdoors

Five new cases of CWD from mandatory deer sampling

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A white-tailed doe in the Ozarks where the Missouri Department of Conservation tests for Chronic Wasting Disease along the border with Arkansas where at least 100 CWD cases have been reported.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports it has received final results from the more than 19,200 tissue samples tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD) following the Department’s mandatory sampling of deer harvested on Nov. 12 and 13 in 29 counties in northeast, central, and east-central Missouri in and around where the disease has been found.

From those final results, MDC has confirmed that at least five deer have tested positive for the deadly deer disease: an adult buck harvested in southeast Adair County; an adult buck harvested in northwest Macon County, a yearling male harvested in southeast Jefferson County; and two mature adult bucks harvested in northern Franklin County, one of which was previously reported in December 2016.

The department received test results for approximately 650 tissue samples collected for CWD testing in seven counties in southwest Missouri. However, no deer from southern Missouri have tested positive for the disease. The target counties in the Ozarks are those closest to where more than 100 cases of CWD have been found in Northwest Arkansas.

“This has been a huge undertaking and we greatly appreciate the help from participating hunters and businesses during our sampling efforts,” says Jasmine Batten, Wildlife Disease Coordinator “While it is disappointing to detect any CWD cases, overall the results to date are encouraging. Given the large number of deer tested and the small number of cases detected, CWD appears to remain relatively rare in the state.”

The five new positive cases bring the total number of cases in free ranging deer in Missouri to 38 with 22 in Macon County; 10 found in Adair; three in Franklin; and one each in Cole, Jefferson and Linn counties.

The department’s next steps include working with landowners in the immediate areas around where cases  have been found to harvest and test additional deer this winter. Affected counties include Adair, Cole, Crawford, Franklin, Jefferson, Linn, Macon, Moniteau, Ste. Genevieve, and St. Francis.

“This additional sampling will help MDC staff better determine the extent of the disease and help limit its spread,” Button explains. “Research shows that CWD tends to be clumped in local areas. When we find a deer with CWD, removing other deer in the immediate area can remove other deer that may be infected. This can help slow the spread of the disease.”

MDC will continue to collect tissue samples from deer harvested in northeast, central, east-central, and southwest Missouri throughout the remaining deer-hunting season, which ends Jan. 15, 2017. Tissue samples are being taken by participating taxidermists and at MDC offices and other sampling locations in the affected regions.

MDC encourages hunters who harvest deer in these areas to have them tested. Sampling locations are listed online at mdc.mo.gov/cwdsamplinglocations. MDC also encourages the public to report sick deer sightings to their local conservation agent or MDC office.

“Once the season is over and our sampling efforts are done for the year, we will then examine the results from our overall sampling and testing efforts to better determine future sampling needs,” Batten says.

For more information on the Department’s CWD sampling efforts and testing results, visit mdc.mo.gov/cwd and look under “CWD Surveillance Summary.”

Hunters who participated in the Department’s CWD sampling efforts can get test results for their harvested deer online at mdc.mo.gov/cwdtestresults.

Chronic Wasting Disease infects only deer and other members of the deer family by causing degeneration of the brain. The disease has no vaccine or cure and is 100 percent fatal. For more information on CWD, visit mdc.mo.gov/cwd. For information on processing and consuming meat from deer with CWD, visit the Department of Health and Senior Services at health.mo.gov/cwd.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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