Chronic Wasting Disease Found in Deer Within 25 Miles of Alabama
Alabama News Network has been following the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in deer for years. It has still not been discovered in Alabama, but for the first time, CWD has been found in deer within 25 miles of the Alabama state line.
Wildlife officials in Mississippi say two hunter-harvested white-tailed bucks in northeast Mississippi have what’s being called “suspect positive” test results. Samples will be sent to Iowa for confirmation.
CWD is a neurodegenerative disease found in most deer species. It is infectious and always fatal. These diseases cause irreversible damage to brain tissue that leads to salivation, neurological symptoms, emaciation and death.
Deer infected with CWD can spread the disease to other deer even before symptoms develop. It can take one to two years for infected animals to become symptomatic.
When symptoms appear, they can include emaciation, lethargy and abnormal behavior. Other signs include excessive salivation, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, excessive thirst and urination, and drooping head/ears.
The disease contaminates the environment where it is found, making it impossible to remove from the area.
The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries has tested more than 11,000 deer since 2002.
As part of Alabama’s CWD Strategic Surveillance and Response Plan, CWD surveillance efforts were increased in Alabama after deer in Mississippi and Tennessee tested positive for the disease in 2018. That increased surveillance effort continues, including the collection of samples from hunter-harvested deer, road kill deer and sick deer reported by the public.
Hunters are encouraged to utilize the self-service CWD sampling stations located throughout the state.
For an up-to-date map with directions to the CWD sampling stations and instructions on how to submit a sample, visit www.outdooralabama.com/cwd-sampling.
More information on CWD can be found at www.outdooralabama.com/CWD-Info.
— Information from The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources