CWD Update: Mississippi sees new positive detection

Published 3:13 pm Wednesday, November 15, 2023

JACKSON — Mississippi’s Chronic Wasting Disease samples spiked to 899 for the season. According to Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks CWD Dashboard, hunters have submitted 159 more samples for Chronic Wasting Disease this week and one of those tested positive. 

MDWFP Deer Program Coordinator William McKinley confirmed the newest Chronic Wasting Disease positive was detected in Marshall County near the Tennessee state line. It is the 64th positive case in Marshall County. Mississippi now has 211 detections of Chronic Wasting Disease.

Chronic Wasting Disease is a 100 percent, always fatal disease caused by an infectious prion. CWD prions are shed into the environment often in the bodily fluids of infected deer. Healthy deer can become infected by contact with these prions in the soil or contact with an infected deer. Prions persist in the environment for a long period of time long after a CWD infected deer dies. 

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Hunters are encouraged to submit samples for Chronic Wasting Disease surveillance. More samples are needed when there is low prevalence to find the disease and implement mitigation measures to slow the spread of CWD. It is possible the disease could be present in an area for a while before detection.

For example,  Tensas Parish, just across the Mississippi River from Claiborne County, has had 13 positive detections since first detection in January 2022. CWD prions were detected in a scrape located in Claiborne County by a Mississippi State University research team but no deer have tested positive for CWD in Claiborne County yet out of 737 samples.

Chronic Wasting Disease could spread from Claiborne County to other areas of southwest Mississippi if shed prions from an infected deer are already present in the Claiborne County soil. Please consider submitting your deer for CWD sampling and report your harvest to GameCheck.

Samples can be dropped off at self serve coolers around the state or participating taxidermists. The closest drop-off cooler to Lincoln County is in Hazlehurst at the Mississippi State Extension Service Office there. Lincoln County’s participating taxidermists are Brent Opdyke, Allen Morgan and George Wilson and their information can be found on the MDWFP CWD page. 

CWD samples are tested at the Mississippi State University Veterinary Research and Diagnostics Laboratory in Pearl. Samples tend to pick up with firearm seasons opening in Louisiana and Mississippi this week. Modern gun season will open Saturday. 

Hunters are encouraged to check in their deer on the MDWFP phone application or website using Game Check. Since opening day, 724 deer have been reported to Game Check, lower than the CWD samples. Data collected with Game Check can help biologists make better management decisions for specific areas of the state.

Check back for more stories on Chronic Wasting Disease, MDWFP and the outdoors on The Daily Leader.