A deer at a hunting preserve in south-central Iowa’s Davis County has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). The disease is fatal to deer and Iowa Department of Natural Resources spokesman, Kevin Baskins, says that’s why it’s important to keep on top of the situation.
“Well there’s always a concern about the spread of it, but the good news is that this particular animal was contained. It’s not like it was just a deer that was just roaming wildly and had a lot of exposure to other wild deer,” according to Baskins. “I think at this point we’re just going to have to look at this particular facility and what can be done there to contain it as much as possible.”
It’s not know how long the deer had been at the facility and where it came from. “No, I think that’s what we are going to be talking to the owner about, trying to trace back the history of this particular animal,” Baskins says.
C-W-D can also be found in elk and deer and involves a protein in the brains of the animals, leading to symptoms that include weight loss and abnormal behavior. Baskins says tests are conducted on thousands of captive animals each year.
“This particular facility, there’s been a hundred and 17 deer in the last five years tested – including 43 in the last year — and this was the first positive detection that we have had of Chronic Wasting Disease in that particular herd,” according to Baskins. The state began taking samples from hunters in 2000 to test the wild population of deer after the disease was confirmed in surrounding states.
The state tested just over 4,300 deer during last year’s hunting seasons. “Nothing has turned up at all so far, but I think what you’ll also see too is that we’ll be increasing the number of deer tested in that immediate area to make sure that it didn’t get into the wild population,” Baskins says.
While the disease is deadly to deer, the D.N.R. says there is no evidence that C-W-D can spread to humans, pets or domestic livestock such as pork, beef, dairy, poultry, sheep or goats.