Final results from 19,200+ deer tested show total of five cases of chronic wasting disease.
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 five deer have tested positive for the deadly deer disease, including an adult buck harvested in southeast Adair County, an adult buck harvested in northwest Macon County, and an adult buck harvested southwest Franklin County. The five total cases include a yearling male harvested in southeast Jefferson County and a mature buck harvested in northern Franklin County, as previously reported by MDC in December 2016.
The department has received test results for approximately 650 tissue samples collected for CWD testing in seven counties in southwest Missouri. No deer from southern Missouri have tested positive for the disease. The target counties are close 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,” said MDC Wildlife Disease Coordinator Jasmine Batten. “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 CWD cases detected in free ranging deer in Missouri to 38 with 10 found in Adair, 1 in Cole, 3 in Franklin, 1 in Jefferson, 1 in Linn, and 22 in Macon counties.
Batten added the Department’s next steps include working with landowners in the immediate areas around where cases of CWD have been found to harvest and test additional deer this winter. Affected counties are: 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,” she explained. “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.”
She noted MDC continues 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. 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 for the disease. Find sampling locations online at mdc.mo.gov/cwdsamplinglocations. MDC encourages the public to report sick deer 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 added.
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.