DNR to further discuss Chronic Wasting Disease during February 17 public meetings in Allamakee County

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has scheduled two public meetings to discuss the status of the deer herd in Allamakee County after a third hunter-harvested deer has now tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) from the 2014 deer season. Just like the previous two animals from the 2014 hunting season, the third CWD-positive deer was also harvested within the five-mile radius surrounding Yellow River State Forest near Harpers Ferry established by the Iowa DNR following the initial discovery of a CWD-infected wild deer harvested during the 2013 hunting season.
This third positive animal was harvested north of the 2013 positive CWD test, while the previous two 2014 animals had been harvested southwest of the 2013 harvest location. The latest CWD-positive animal makes for a total of four Allamakee County wild deer that have tested positive for CWD.
Meetings are scheduled for Tuesday, February 17 at 2 p.m. in the Harpers Ferry Community Center, located at 238 North Fourth Street in Harpers Ferry, and then again at 6:30 p.m. at the Waukon Banquet Center, located at 612 Rossville Road in Waukon. Members of the general public are encouraged to attend to provide input and hear how they can be of assistance in the DNR plan to combat the disease.
After the initial CWD-positive wild deer was found in Allamakee County in 2013, the DNR, with the help of cooperative hunters, increased its surveillance in a five-mile radius around where that deer was harvested to help determine the extent of the disease. Dr. Dale Garner, chief of wildlife for the Iowa DNR, confirmed all samples received to date from Allamakee and Clayton counties have been tested and no additional positive detections have been found. The DNR will continue to test additional samples as they become available.
“We’ve learned from other states that we need to move strategically, but fairly quickly, to get on top of this before CWD becomes established,” Garner said. The Iowa DNR will present its findings, discuss available options and seek input during the meetings.
CWD is a neurological disease belonging to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases. It attacks the brain of infected deer and elk, causing the animals to lose weight, display abnormal behavior, lose body functions and die. It is always fatal to the infected animal.
The Iowa DNR’s wildlife staff sets an annual goal of collecting 4,500 samples. Since testing began in 2002, more than 57,000 tissue samples have been collected and tested looking for the presence of CWD in Iowa’s wild deer herd. The effort has focused on portions of northeast and eastern Iowa near Wisconsin, Illinois, and south-central Iowa near Missouri, where CWD has been detected. Additional testing has been conducted in Pottawattamie, Cerro Gordo and Davis counties, following positive tests from captive facilities. The disease has been found in every state around Iowa.
Iowa DNR’s website provides information about CWD and other information on infectious disease at http://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/DeerHunting/CWDEHDInformation.aspx.

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