The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports 41 new positive test results for chronic wasting disease (CWD) have been confirmed following its sampling and testing of more than 32,000 free-ranging Missouri deer during its 2018-2019 disease-surveillance efforts. The 41 new positive test results bring Missouri’s total CWD detections to 116 since 2012. The new positives were from the following counties:
MDC’s disease-surveillance efforts included collecting more than 20,000 tissue samples from hunter-harvested deer during its mandatory CWD sampling over the opening weekend of the fall firearms deer season and collecting more than 8,000 tissue samples from hunter-harvested deer through its statewide voluntary CWD sampling during the entire past deer season. The voluntary statewide effort was possible through a partnership with numerous meat processors and taxidermists who helped collect tissue samples for testing through MDC. MDC also collected tissue samples from a small number of road-killed deer and "sick-looking" deer reported to the Department over the past season.
In addition, MDC worked with landowners around the state to manage CWD by removing additional deer from areas where CWD has been found. These efforts help minimize the spread of the disease to more deer in more areas. MDC collected about 2,200 tissue samples during these targeted culling efforts after the close of deer season. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/cwd under Post-Season Targeted Culling.
Of the 41 new CWD positives, 15 were found through mandatory sampling; 12 through voluntary sampling; 12 through targeted culling; and two from road-killed, sick or found dead deer. For more information, visit mdc.mo.gov/cwd under CWD in Missouri.
"These efforts would not be possible without the participation of thousands of deer hunters who brought their harvested deer to be sampled and tested, the help of more than 140 participating taxidermists and meat processors, and the participation of numerous landowners who worked with us on post-season targeted culling," said MDC Wildlife Disease Coordinator Jasmine Batten. "Thank you."
Batten noted that in new areas where CWD was found, the number of CWD positives was low, indicating the disease was likely recently introduced in those locations.
"Overall, where CWD occurs throughout the state, the number of infected deer remains low, which indicates that CWD is relatively rare in the state — and we want to keep it that way," she said. "If left unchecked, CWD could decrease the overall health of deer and numbers of deer in Missouri over time."
MDC will again require mandatory sampling of deer harvested during the opening weekend of the fall firearms deer season, Saturday, Nov. 16 and Sunday, Nov. 17, in and around counties where the disease has been recently found. MDC will again also offer statewide voluntary CWD sampling during the entire fall and winter deer hunting season. More information on specific counties, sampling locations, and requirements will be published in MDC’s "2019 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information" booklet, available where permits are sold starting in July.
CWD is a deadly illness in white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family, called cervids. CWD is spread from deer to deer through direct contact and through contact with soil, food and water that have been contaminated through feces, urine, saliva or carcasses of infected deer. CWD kills all deer and other cervids it infects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters in areas known to have CWD have their deer tested for the disease before consuming the meat and not eating meat from infected animals. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/cwd under Human Health Risks.