Illinois has nine more confirmed cases of a fatal deer disease first discovered in the state last fall near Roscoe, wildlife officials announced Friday.
The new cases were found among 1,100 hunter-harvested deer tested for chronic wasting disease during the first session of the firearm season last month.
The latest cases include five in Boone County, three in Winnebago County and the first-ever in DeKalb County. The state now has 30 confirmed cases.
Paul Shelton, state Department of Natural Resources wildlife program manager, said the DeKalb deer was killed in the county’s northern section near the Kishwaukee River about 20 miles from Roscoe, where the majority of the cases have been found.
“It’s possible it could have traveled from the Roscoe area,” he said. “Or it’s possible we could have missed a pocket (of diseased deer) during our sampling where we don’t have as high a prevalence of CWD among the deer. When more data comes in, we’ll get a clearer picture.”
The tests also showed CWD in two other new areas — just west of Rockton and northeastern Boone County. The Rockton case was the first west of Interstate 90, while the earlier Boone cases were all on the western border along Winnebago County.
“The numbers in themselves were not surprising. They were in line with what we expected,” Shelton said. “More important than the numbers is the distribution of the (positive) samples.”
The latest results were from tests in Winnebago, Boone, DeKalb, Stephenson, McHenry and Ogle counties.
About 3,500 samples were taken during the firearms seasons in northern Illinois, but not all the tests have been completed.
Shelton contacted hunters with deer testing positive Wednesday night.
He added the DNR appreciates the cooperation hunters have provided during the testing process. “They’ve been fantastic.”
Roscoe hunter Jim Hart said CWD has gained a level of acceptance among the majority of his colleagues.
“A certain number of hunters have told me they are terrified of (CWD), but most are accepting of it,” he said, adding he knows of some hunters who quit the sport this year for fear of the disease.