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Chronic Wasting Disease found at deer farm

DES MOINES – Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been confirmed in one captive white-tail at a deer farm in Buchanan County, Iowa.  The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has quarantined the site.

The disease was detected as part of the Department’s voluntary CWD monitoring program.  The farm where the disease was found participates in the program which requires CWD surveillance and testing of all farmed deer and elk 12 months of age and older that dies.  Test results must be shared with the Department.

CWD was found in neighboring Wisconsin in 2002.  Since then, Iowa has tested for CWD in 57,765 wild deer and 10,157 captive deer and elk as part of its surveillance program.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will increase testing of wild deer in the Buchanan County area.  DNR staff will work with hunters and landowners to collect samples from hunter-harvested deer, roadkills and targeted deer displaying symptoms of CWD.

There is no evidence that CWD can spread to humans, pets or domestic livestock.

CWD is a neurological disease that only affects deer, elk and moose.  It is caused by an abnormal protein, called a prion, which affects the brains of infected animals, causing them to lose weight, display abnormal behavior and lose bodily functions. The prions can attach to soil and spread the disease among deer.

Symptoms of the disease include excessive salivation, thirst and urination, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, listlessness as well as drooping ears and head.

Chronic wasting disease was first identified in captive mule deer at a research facility in Colorado in 1967.