CWD infected deer found in central WisconsinTwo deer infected with CWD, or chronic wasting disease, have been discovered in central Wisconsin, including one in Portage County.
By: By Glen Moberg, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Two deer infected with CWD, or chronic wasting disease, have been discovered in central Wisconsin, including one in Portage County. The DNR is now reassessing its disease management strategy.
One of the infected deer was found in Juneau County, which is adjacent to the Department’s CWD management zone, a nearly 9,000-square-mile area in southern Wisconsin that is regularly monitored for the disease. DNR communications specialist Ed Culhane says the positive test further north in Portage County is troubling.
“This is the first deer that has tested positive, the first wild deer that has tested positive in Portage County,” he says.
The positive test came from a one-and-a-half-year-old animal, which means the deer couldn’t have gotten the disease from a Portage County game farm where an infected herd was killed 10 years ago or from a local preserve where the disease turned up five years ago. Culhane says the DNR is now reassessing its disease management strategy.
“This is a noteworthy find,” he says. “It’s too early to draw conclusions about specifically what it means. We’re coming up with a plan to take a harder look in that area, and there's a lot of thought and planning being put into it right now.”
CWD is a mad-cow like brain disease that can be fatal to deer. And while there is no evidence that the disease can spread to humans, Culhane says the DNR advises hunters to play it safe.
“There is no known threat to human health from eating a CWD infected deer,” he says. “However, our advice is cautionary. Our advice is not to eat that meat.”
The CWD management plan is on the agenda for the February meeting of the Natural Resources Board.