DES MOINES – A white-tail deer at a hunting preserve in Davis County has become the first positive detection of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Iowa. The positive sample was verified this week, and DNR is working closely with the State Veterinarian on this isolated incident.
There is no evidence that CWD can spread to humans, pets or domestic livestock such as pork, beef, dairy, poultry, sheep or goats.
The Davis County facility where the animal was held has been inspected by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) to ensure that any remaining deer remain contained. The facility is surrounded by an eight-foot fence. A quarantine has also been issued for the facility.
“Given all of Iowa’s surrounding states have confirmed cases of CWD, Iowa DNR was prepared to address this isolated incident,” said DNR Deputy Director Bruce Trautman.
The DNR and IDALS have a CWD response plan in place to address the disease.
“We have a CWD surveillance program in place to test deer, elk and moose at the facilities that raise farm deer and we have worked closely with DNR to plan for a possible finding of the disease,” said Iowa State Veterinarian Dr. David Schmitt.
Iowa has tested 42,557 wild deer and over 4,000 captive deer and elk as part of the surveillance program since 2002 when CWD was found in Wisconsin.
The DNR will increase testing of wild deer in the area by working with hunters and landowners to collect samples from hunter harvested deer beginning this fall.
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. Signs include excessive salivation, thirst and urination, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, listlessness and drooping ears and head.
The prions can attach to soil and spread the disease among deer. Chronic wasting disease was first identified in captive mule deer at a research facility in Colorado in 1967. Prior to the positive detection in Iowa, CWD had been detected in every bordering state.