Information gained from a new study may help scientists and state wildlife agencies alike in better and more quickly dealing with chronic wasting disease (CWD).
“With this new approach, researchers can test fewer numbers of deer by using existing information on the disease risk of different demographic groups,” said Daniel Walsh, a United States Geological Survey scientist and coauthor of the study. “They can target tissue collections from the groups at highest risk instead of casting a much larger and wider net.”
CWD is a major health concern for wild deer populations, and it is present in more than 20 states. Early detection of CWD gives wildlife managers more options to minimize establishment of the disease and to limit its geographic spread.
CWD is fatal to infected animals. It is not known to infect humans, but hunters are advised to have the deer and elk in known CWD areas tested before consuming it.
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(Photo source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)