MISSISSIPPI - Mississippi wildlife officials have confirmed the year’s second case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a white-tailed deer.
A deer exhibiting strange behavior was put down in Pontotoc County, Miss., near Ecru on Oct. 8. The deer had no fear of humans and attacked a dog, according to a report in the Clarion Ledger in Jackson.
Sample tissue from the 1 1/2-year-old male deer was taken to the Mississippi Veterinary and Diagnostic Lab in Pearl where it was tested twice for CWD. Both tests yielded positive results. Sample tissue was then shipped to the National Veterinary Sciences Laboratory in Iowa for an additional test which also proved to be positive on Oct. 30.
CWD has not been detected in any deer in Alabama, but since parts of Franklin, Lamar, and Marion counties lie within a 50-mile radius of Ecru, the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) is stepping-up surveillance sampling efforts within those counties, according to an Oct. 31 press release from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Standard CWD surveillance methods will be used to collect additional samples for these counties including, but not limited to, voluntary samples from hunter-harvested deer as well as focused efforts on road kills and abnormally behaving deer.
CWD is a neurodegenerative disease found in most deer species, including moose, elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer. It is infectious and always fatal. It is part of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and is similar to mad cow disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep. These diseases cause irreversible damage to brain tissue that leads to neurological symptoms, emaciation and death of the animal.
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, abnormal behavior, and loss of bodily functions. Other signs include excessive salivation, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, excessive thirst and urination, and drooping head/ears.
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