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Archive for Sunday, September 22, 2002

Chronic wasting disease no problem in Kansas

But state officials advise precautions

September 22, 2002

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— Some Kansas deer hunters are concerned about a rare disease found in deer and elk called chronic wasting disease.

An elk in a captive herd near Anthony tested positive for CWD last year. The entire herd was destroyed.

Speculation about the spread of the disease, its effect on deer populations, and fears the disease may cross the species barriers and affect people are some of the reasons CWD has been making headlines and drawing the attention of Kansas hunters.

Wildlife and Parks has been testing wild deer in Kansas for the past several years.

Samples are sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory to test for the presence of the disease.

All of the samples have been negative.

Many infected animals have been found in captive deer and elk herds in other states, and movement of animals between captive facilities is a way the disease can move to a new location.

In addition to the Kansas case, the disease has been found in captive herds of deer and elk in Alberta, Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Saskatchewan.

Symptoms of CWD include abnormally thin animals with shaggy or dull coats.

The deer often spend long periods with their heads held low to the ground and with their ears drooped. Wild deer with the disease may be unafraid of humans.

Common safety precautions should be followed by people who hunt or eat deer or elk. People should avoid contact with any wild animal that appears to be sick.

Rubber gloves should be worn while field dressing the carcass.

Bone-out meat and do not include the brain, spinal cord, spleen and lymph nodes in items that people will consume.

Hunters are encouraged to cooperate with wildlife agencies during voluntary collections of samples.

Everyone is encouraged to call (620) 672-5911 and report the presence of sick deer and elk.

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