Deadly deer disease spreading quickly; What to know for hunting season – Wichita, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas 2021-12-06 14:11:58 –

Topeka, Kansas (KSNT) —Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a deadly neurological disorder that spreads rapidly in deer, Kansas.

According to Shane Hesting, wildlife disease coordinator at the Kansas Wildlife Parks Authority, the disease could threaten the future of one of the state’s most popular industries.

“CWD can ruin hunting over time, as we know it,” Hesting said. “This will take a long time … decades. There are many questions about whether local extinction will occur 50 or 60 years from now. But perhaps older animals will disappear from the population. You will see. “

CWD is found in deer, elks and moose. The disease is caused by the infectious pathogen prion spreading through body fluids and nose-to-nose contact, and when infected, damages parts of the animal’s brain. It usually causes significant weight loss, behavioral changes, excessive salivation, and gradual loss of physical condition such as death.

Limited surveillance of deer illness dates back to the 1990s. However, according to Hesting, the number of infected deer has increased exponentially since then.

“As it progresses and becomes established in the population, the prevalence of CWD is rising and the number of deer infected with the disease is increasing,” Hesting said.

So far, the state has sampled about 30,000 deer, of which about 548 are positive, according to Hesting. However, the number is increasing rapidly.

Preventive efforts

According to Hesting, hunters also need to take steps to prevent the spread of the disease.

“We don’t want hunters to move carcasses out of where they kill animals,” Hesting said. “Leave their carcasses where they kill the animals, and they keep the prions in the infected area. The prions are in the spinal cord, brain, and all nervous tissue. Therefore, leave it behind. The more you avoid bringing it into a new area, the more you can prevent the CWD from moving faster than it naturally does. “

The epidemic of this disease has led other people to take special precautions.

Lisa Keith, director of Emporia’s David Trailer Zoo, said her zoo is taking some steps to protect the mule deer population.

“Mule deer are popular just because they aren’t found in Lyon County,” she said. “You can find more in western and northern Kansas. It’s fun for people to see.”

The zoo has a 30-60 day quarantine period for new animals, during which tests are also conducted before the animals are introduced to the herd. The zookeeper keeps all the tools inside the exhibit so that no external pollutants can invade. In addition, zookeepers have barriers around them to prevent wildlife from coming into contact with deer.

“It’s a very scary illness. They stumble. They can behave a little differently than usual. Unfortunately, it’s fatal to animals,” Keith said.

Test your meat before you eat

Preventive efforts have been successful in preventing the spread of the disease, but they pose a much greater threat in western Kansas.

According to Hesting, the Wildlife Parks Authority uses a state-wide network of taxider mists to collect lymph nodes, an important part of the animal’s immune system, for testing.

“We use a network of taxider mists because they keep older animals,” Hesting said. “The incubation period of CWD is 18 months, so it’s a place for older animals to find the disease. Taxidermists have so many animals that they get about 450 sample sizes each year.”

Taxidermists like Jamie Reneberg, owner of Tipi Taxidermy in Kensington, have been working with the state for almost eight years to collect samples from hundreds of incoming deer.

“I want to see these deer survive and work, but if there’s anything that affects it, we want to be part of it, and I want to know why. That’s what Reneberg said.

Reneberg brings in more than 100 animals a year for sampling and recommends that hunters ensure that they are tested for deer. Although there are no known cases of human infection, the CDC recommends not eating animals infected with CWD.

“One of the things we see is that many hunters don’t eat much deer. Their concerns prevent them from doing that,” Reneberg said. “If the deer is positive, we recommend that you don’t eat the deer. It’s important to test the deer, and you’ll know for sure.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Hesting said the state still has a “robust” deer population available to hunters.

“You need a hunter to keep hunting. If you’re hunting in an area with a CWD, it’s a good idea to test the deer. There are a lot of unanswered questions, so be careful. Is good.”

The Kansas Wildlife Parks Authority offers free CWD tests during the deer hunting season from 2021 to 2022.

For more information and CWD test resources click here..

Deadly deer disease spreading quickly; What to know for hunting season Source link Deadly deer disease spreading quickly; What to know for hunting season

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