SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – More than 4,000 samples taken during the firearm deer season have been tested for chronic wasting disease and no new cases were found, the Department of Natural Resources announced today.
“This is good news,” said Paul Shelton, IDNR’s Forest Wildlife Program Manager. “Of the areas sampled so far, our data indicate that the disease appears limited to a couple of localities in northern Illinois.
A total of 4,060 samples were taken from 36 Illinois counties during the firearm deer season in November and December. Six of those tested positive and one additional case was discovered in early November. All seven of those confirmed cases were in Boone, McHenry and Winnebago counties. The Department is following up with additional testing in those counties to better evaluate the status of CWD in northern Illinois.
Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disease found in deer and elk. The disease affects the brains of infected animals, causing them to become emaciated, display abnormal behavior, lose coordination and eventually die. It is not known to be contagious to livestock or humans.
Additional samples will help biologists assess how long CWD may have been present and the distribution and prevalence of the disease. Sampling is expected to be completed by the end of March, with results several weeks later. The test results will help the Department further refine its strategy for dealing with the disease. The deer carcasses are being held in an approved facility until CWD test results are available. Deer that test negative will be processed and donated to food pantries.
For updated information about chronic wasting disease, including answers to frequently asked questions and the Department’s rules, please see our web site at: http://dnr.state.il.us/pubaffairs/2002/CWD.htm.