70 new cases of chronic disease have been found in Arkansas since the deer season opened in September, according to samples compiled by biologists, taxidermists and veterinarians from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Although the number of positive cases is high, no samples of new areas of the state have been found so far. The disease has been found in Boone, Carroll, Madison, Marion, Newton, Pope and Searcy counties since September.
Cory Gray, manager of AGFC's Division of Research, Education and Compliance, says that in general the results have been as good as expected.
"We have taken more than 2,400 samples so far this season, and we have several batches of samples still in the lab," Gray said. "But most positive cases are reinforced when we believe that the disease is more prevalent." Once we have completed sampling this year, we hope to have a clearer picture of the distribution of the disease. "
Gray says that hunters who deliver samples that are positive for CWD are being notified as soon as possible, and any hunter can verify The CWD website looks for the status of their sample to have some peace of mind Biologists will work with hunters to collect and remove any CWD-positive animal meat and reset their game label if possible.
CLICK HERE to see the CWD website.
"If a positive sample is returned from a county that does not currently have CWD, we will follow our standard protocol and confirm that sample through additional testing," he said. Gray. "If that test is also positive, we will issue a statement to make sure the hunters in that area are informed."
Gray says the association AGFC with taxidermists throughout the state remains invaluable to both hunters and the agency.
"Last year we worked with taxidermists to collect samples of mounted deer to be assembled, but this year we have really tried to announce to people that any deer can take one of our participating taxidermists to have a sample of CWD thrown for free "said Gray. "We do not have the manpower to extract samples throughout the state during the entire deer season, so this association really helps the hunters to have peace of mind about their deer and helps us continue to monitor the disease outside the focal area. , where we know we have it. "
Any hunter who harvests a deer can test the animal by taking the head with about 6 inches of neck attached to one of the participating taxidermists listed on the CWD website.
CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects members of the deer / elk family. It was first described in 1967 in Colorado and has since been extended to 23 additional states, Canada, South Korea and Norway. It was discovered in Arkansas in February 2016, and has since been found in 288 deer or elk in Arkansas after thousands of deer have been tested throughout the state.
It is similar to "mad cow disease" in cattle. These diseases are caused by misshapen proteins called prions, which accumulate in the tissues of affected animals, especially the brain, spinal cord and lymph nodes. Infected animals will not show signs of disease at first, but at the end of the disease process, they will be thin and may show weakness, abnormal behavior, excessive thirst or drooling.
No case of CWD affecting humans or livestock has been confirmed, but with an abundance of caution, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that hunters test their harvested game and warn that people should not consume any Deer or elk that is known to have CWD.