PRATT — The number of cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) detected in Kansas deer continues to be low and is currently isolated to the northwest part of the state, according to the Shane Hesting, wildlife disease coordinator for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT).
Samples from three white-tailed bucks taken during this year’s hunting season were confirmed positive for CWD in tests completed last week. Counties where the deer were taken include Wallace (new county of detection), Decatur, and Rawlins.
KDWPT will continue testing some vehicle-killed and sick or suspect-looking deer, as well as deer taken with depredation permits, through July 31.
“This season’s testing results bring the total number of confirmed CWD cases in Kansas to 43 since testing began in 1996,” says Hesting. About 2,400 samples were collected during the 2011-2012 deer seasons with a third of the testing completed..
Annual testing has been a part of an ongoing effort by KDWPT to monitor the prevalence and spread of CWD. The disease, fatal in wild deer, was first detected in deer taken in Cheyenne County in 2005.
CWD is a member of the group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Other diseases in this group include scrapie in sheep and goats, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or Mad Cow Disease) in cattle, and Cruetzfeldt-Jakob disease in people.
CWD is a progressive, fatal disease that results in small holes developing in the brain, giving it a sponge-like appearance under the microscope.