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Chronic Wasting Disease Found in 4 New Iowa Counties
USAgNet - 02/12/2020

Chronic wasting disease has been confirmed in wild deer from Woodbury, Winneshiek, Fayette and Decatur counties this year, bringing the total number of counties in Iowa where wild deer have tested positive to eight.

"We will schedule meetings in these areas in the next few months to discuss chronic wasting disease, our response and the role hunters play in helping us to manage for this disease," said Tyler Harms, wildlife biologist with the Iowa DNR.

In the past, the DNR has set up a surveillance zone around where the positive deer was taken, then works with hunters to increase the number of samples collected within the zone to get a better idea of the extent to which the disease is on the ground.

"Early detection is key," Harms said. "We want to increase the surveillance in close proximity to the positive deer to hopefully catch any other positives in the area. In these surveillance zones, we want to manage our deer herd toward the lower end of our population goal to help slow disease transmission."

The Iowa DNR submitted nearly 7,000 deer tissue samples for testing from hunter harvested or road killed deer collected statewide in the 2019-2020 season that resulted in 43 positive wild deer.

"While the number of positives this year jumps out, it's not out of the realm of what we would expect," Harms said.

The Iowa DNR contacted all hunters with a positive deer and offered the opportunity to come collect the deer meat, hide and other animal parts or were provided other options for carcass disposal. The Centers for Disease Control advises against consuming animals that have tested positive for disease.

Hunters play an important role in preventing the spread of this disease by not using feed or salt-mineral licks that increase the concentration of deer, which can spread disease.

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