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Department of Conservation asks hunters to get deer tested for Chronic Wasting Disease

Courtesy of the Missouri Department of Conservation
Missouri Department of Conservation
Courtesy of the Missouri Department of Conservation

As the hunting season begins, the Missouri Department of Conservation is asking hunters to get deer checked for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

Testing for the disease is required in 28 counties across Missouri, but the department is holding voluntary testing across the state.

A full map of the counties and where sampling locations are can be found on the departments website.

A spokesman for the Missouri Department of Conservation Robert Hemmelgarn said the department's office in Columbia was collecting voluntary samples from hunters after opening day on Saturday.

"Chronic wasting disease is a disease that there is currently no cure for, there is no live animal test," Hemmelgarn said. "So the only way to get an idea of how prevalent it is in the landscape is to collect samples from deer that are hunter-harvested."

Since July of this year, the department has found 2 cases of CWD out of 1461 deer tested. The cases were both reported in Franklin County.

During the last sampling period, 41 cases were found across Missouri.

There was one confirmed case in Cole County during the 2014-15 testing period, but Hemmelgarn said after years of testing. There has not been another positive case, so he said testing is no longer mandatory in central Missouri.

Hemmelgarn said the Disease has caused large problems for other states across the country. "Chronic Wasting Disease, left unchecked, could really wipe out our deer herd in Missouri," Hemmelgarn said.

He said sampling deer that hunters bring to them is one of the only ways the department can keep track of the disease.

"It's really a win win for everybody," Hemmelgarn said. "It helps us from a scientific side keep a close eye on the disease, and at the same time provides quality assurance for hunters."

The department says the disease is 100 percent fatal in every animal it infects and that it can survive outside of an animals for months to years. Hemmelgarn said it is spread through bodily fluid, and some research shows does can spread CWD to their fawn before birth.

"There's just a lot we don't know about the disease and we're doing everything we can to stay on top of the latest research and stay on top of it's spread," Hemmelgarn said.

Hemmelgarn said there is no definitive evidence that the disease can be spread from deer to humans, but the department and the CDC recommend never eating meat from a diseased animal.

Watch ABC17 News after the game for a full report.

Article Topic Follows: News
chronic wasting disease
deer season

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Connor Hirsch

Connor Hirsch reports for the weekday night shows, as well as Sunday nights.


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