JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports that 11 new cases of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) have recently been found in deer harvested in Macon, Adair, and now Cole counties. A buck harvested near the village of Centertown in Cole County is the first case of the disease to be found outside of the Department's six-county CWD Containment Zone of Adair, Chariton, Linn, Macon, Randolph, and Sullivan counties. All previous cases have been limited to Macon, Linn, and Adair counties.
These 11 new cases bring the total number of Missouri free-ranging deer that have tested positive for CWD to 14 for this past season and 24 overall since the disease was first discovered in the state in 2010 at a private hunting preserve in Linn County. CWD has also been found in 11 captive deer in Macon and Linn counties.
The Department has collected more than 43,000 tissue samples since it began testing for the emerging disease in 2001. MDC has collected more than 3,400 tissue samples for CWD testing from harvested and other free-ranging deer this season. Results for about 330 tissue samples are still in the process of being tested by an independent, outside laboratory.
"We will provide an update of final results once all testing has been completed for the season," said MDC Deer Biologist Jason Sumners. "We will continue to monitor the spread of the disease through more CWD testing this coming fall and winter. We are also updating our efforts to help contain the spread of the disease and will be working out the details over this spring and summer."
Chronic Wasting Disease infects only deer and other members of the deer family by causing degeneration of the brain. The disease has no vaccine or cure and is 100-percent fatal.
Missouri offers some of the best deer hunting in the country, and deer hunting is an important part of many Missourians' lives and family traditions. Infectious diseases such as CWD could reduce hunting and wildlife-watching opportunities for Missouri's nearly 520,000 deer hunters and almost two million wildlife watchers. Deer hunting is also an important economic driver in Missouri and gives a $1 billion annual boost to state and local economies.
Lower deer numbers from infectious diseases such as CWD could hurt 12,000 Missouri jobs and many businesses that rely on deer hunting as a significant source of revenue, such as meat processors, taxidermists, hotels, restaurants, sporting goods stores, and others. CWD also threatens the investments of thousands of private landowners who manage their land for deer and deer hunting, and who rely on deer and deer hunting to maintain property values.
For more information on CWD in Missouri, visit the MDC website at mdc.mo.gov/node/16478.