Missouri's wild deer test negative for CWD

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March 15, 2002

Missouri's wild deer test negative for fatal disease

The Associated Press

Test results from wild deer killed during the 2001 firearms season show no sign of chronic wasting disease, the Department of Conservation said Thursday.

Chronic wasting disease is a neurological ailment in a family of diseases that includes scrapies in sheep and mad cow disease in cattle.

Deer that contract chronic wasting disease die within two years. It attacks the brain, causing the animal to stagger, slobber and become confused.

The disease has been detected in isolated wild deer populations in Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.

Sample testing of wild deer will intensify in the fall 2002 hunting season, Missouri officials said.

"We are asking the public to report sightings of deer that look sick or are behaving oddly to their local conservation agent or conservation office," said Wildlife Division Administrator Ollie Torgerson.

The disease appears to be spreading in both wild and captive populations of elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer in the United States and Canada.

"The potential for this disease to spread to Missouri poses a real risk to our wildlife resources, to the elk and deer farmers and the big game hunting preserves," Torgerson said.

Under an agreement, the Missouri Conservation and Agriculture departments are developing a voluntary surveillance program for captive deer and elk and new regulations to prevent introduction of the disease.

The Missouri Conservation Commission has authorized money for at least two years of testing for chronic wasting disease.

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On the Net:

Conservation Department: http://www.conservation.state.mo.us
 

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