Mississippi finds five new Chronic Wasting Disease positives

Published 8:19 pm Thursday, November 30, 2023

JACKSON  — Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks detected more positives for Chronic Wasting Disease this week. Since the opening day of the September Velvet hunting season, hunters have submitted 2,057 samples for testing and 12 positives have been detected.

Five of those new positives were entered into the Chronic Wasting Disease Dashboard Thursday. More positives are expected as more and more samples are submitted. MDWFP’s database shows the five new positives were from north Mississippi counties where Chronic Wasting Disease is already on the landscape.

Chronic Wasting Disease is a 100 percent always fatal disease caused by an infectious prion. Deer often do not show visible symptoms of the disease until late stages, 12 to 18 months after infection, which is why hunters should test harvested deer. CWD is spread by indirect and direct contact with infected deer. Prions are shed by the deer into the environment through bodily fluids and persist which infects other deer indirectly.

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One of the recent positives was detected in Tippah County and two positives were detected each in Benton and Marshall Counties. Samples and positives are added to the CWD dashboard once they are tested at the Mississippi State University Veterinary Research and Diagnostic Lab in Pearl.

MDWFP Deer Program Coordinator William McKinley said they have had strong hunter involvement in submitting samples this year.

“We thank hunters for continuing to submit samples,” he said.

Hunter harvested samples are essential in the agency’s fight against Chronic Wasting Disease. Samples are often the first way to find out the disease is in a new area. Just because you do not have a positive detection in proximity to your county does not mean the disease is not on the landscape where you hunt.

Center for Disease Control reports there are no CWD cases in humans from eating positive deer meat but it doesn’t mean the disease can’t spread to humans. It is best to avoid eating meat of a CWD positive deer.

CWD 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.