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CWD found in Iowa hunting preserve

From Iowa Department of Conservation

-- A white-tailed deer at a hunting preserve in Davis County has become the first positive detection of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Iowa.  The positive sample was verified and the DNR is working closely with the state veterinarian on the isolated incident.

Iowa has tested 42,557 wild deer and over 4,000 captive deer and elk as part of the surveillance program since 2002 when CWD was found in Wisconsin. 

The DNR will increase testing of wild deer in the area by working with hunters and landowners to collect samples from hunter harvested deer beginning this fall.

There is no evidence that CWD can spread to humans, pets or domestic livestock such as pork, beef, dairy, poultry, sheep or goats.

The Davis County facility where the animal was held has been inspected by the DNR and the state Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to ensure any remaining deer remain contained. 

The facility is surrounded by an eight-foot fence, and quarantine has been issued for the facility. 

“Given all of Iowa’s surrounding states have confirmed cases of CWD, Iowa was prepared to address this isolated incident,” according to Bruce Trautman, deputy director.

The DNR and IDALS have a CWD response plan in place to address the disease.

“We have a CWD surveillance program in place to test deer, elk and moose at the facilities that raise farm deer, and we have worked closely to plan for a possible finding of the disease,” said Dr. David Schmitt, state veterinarian.

There is no evidence CWD can spread to humans, pets or domestic livestock such as pork, beef, dairy, poultry, sheep or goats.

CWD is a neurological disease that only affects deer, elk and moose.  It is caused by an abnormal protein, called a prion, which affects the brains of infected animals, causing them to lose weight, display abnormal behavior and lose bodily functions. Signs include excessive salivation, thirst and urination, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, listlessness and drooping ears and head. 

The prions can attach to soil and spread the disease among deer. Chronic wasting disease was first identified in captive mule deer at a research facility in Colorado in 1967.  Prior to the positive detection in Iowa, CWD had been detected in every bordering state.

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