SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — According to a press release from Texas Parks and Wildlife, a new case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was discovered in a deer breeding facility in Sutton County. This case marks the first detection of the disease in the county.
The four-year-old white-tailed buck was detected using antemortem (live-animal) testing to determine if the animal was eligible for transfer to a registered release site. The collected samples were confirmed to be “CWD positive” by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. Officials took immediate action to secure all deer at the facility.
As TPWD continues to investigate the extent of the disease, they indicated 10 additional breeding facilities and 18 release sites may have been impacted by previous transfers received from deer that originated in the Sutton County facility.
CWD, sometimes called zombie deer disease, is a fatal neurological disease found in certain cervids, including deer, elk, moose and other members of the deer family. This slow, progressive disease may not produce visible signs in susceptible species for several years after the initial infection.
Infected animals will progressively show changes in behavior and appearance. Clinical signs of the disease may include progressive weight loss, stumbling or tremors with a lack of coordination, loss of appetite, teeth grinding, abnormal head posture and/or drooping ears, and excessive thirst, salivation or urination.
According to TPWD, there are no known cases where CWD has infected a human, but recent research suggests that CWD transmission from infected animals to humans should not be ruled out. As a precaution, they recommend hunters test harvested cervid species for CWD and not consume the meat of the infected animals.
For more information about CWD, visit the TPWD website or the TAHC website.