The Missouri Department of Conservation reports that two new cases of chronic wasting disease, or CWD, have recently been found in Missouri. One was found in an adult buck harvested by a hunter in Macon County and the other in an adult doe harvested by a hunter in Adair County. These two new cases bring the total of Missouri free-ranging deer that have tested positive for CWD to five for this hunting season and 15 overall. The total cases of CWD in Missouri captive and free-ranging deer now stands at 26.
CWD was first discovered in Missouri in 2010 at a private hunting preserve in Linn County. All cases of CWD in Missouri have been limited to Macon, Linn, and Adair counties, which are part of MDC’s six-county CWD Containment Zone. Additional counties included in the zone are Chariton, Randolph, and Sullivan.
As done in the past three years, MDC worked with hunters, landowners, taxidermists, and meat processors to collect tissue samples from adult deer harvested in north-central Missouri during the fall archery and firearms deer seasons. The Department also collected tissue samples from deer harvested in other areas of the state. MDC has collected more than 1,800 tissue samples this season so far and more than 43,000 tissue samples since the Department began testing for the disease in 2001. MDC staff will work with select landowners in the CWD Containment Zone over the next several months to harvest additional deer for disease testing and will report a summary of all testing efforts and results once completed.
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. There is no evidence that the disease can affect humans.
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.