DWR: Chronic Wasting Disease Spreading

The Division of Wildlife Resources announced last week that chronic wasting disease is spreading to new parts of the state. The disease, which affects the nervous systems of deer, elk, and moose, was first detected in the state in 2002 in northeastern Utah. Since then it has stayed mostly in rural counties, including Duchesne and Uintah Counties, until more recently when deer were found dead and sick in Salt Lake County. As of June 16th, 26 deer have tested positive for chronic wasting disease this year, and currently, 157 mule deer and 3 elk have tested positive in Utah. Transmission may occur directly through contact with an infected animal or indirectly through environmental contamination. “This disease unfortunately does appear to be spreading in Utah, and we will continue to do extensive monitoring to stay on top of the disease and its prevalence in the state,” says DWR State Wildlife Veterinarian Ginger Stout. The DWR sets up monitoring checkpoints on all hunting units in the state — on a five-year rotation — in order to test the deer harvested in that area to sample the deer populations for chronic wasting disease.


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