The Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Logan has finished testing more than 1,800 deer for chronic wasting disease. The deer were taken during Utah’s 2006 fall hunting seasons.

Of the more than 1,800 deer tested, seven had the disease, the Division of Wildlife Resources announced March 1.

One of the seven deer was taken during last fall’s archery season, two were taken during the muzzleloader season and four were taken during the rifle hunt.

In addition to the deer they’ve tested, laboratory personnel have almost completed testing 446 elk that were taken this past fall.

So far, none of the elk have tested positive for the disease. CWD has never been found in elk in Utah.

“The disease appears to be staying within areas where we’ve already found it,” says Leslie McFarlane, wildlife disease specialist for the DWR. “The La Sal Mountains in southeastern Utah appear to be the hotspot.

“In central and northeastern Utah, we estimate that less than one percent of the buck population is affected by CWD. In the La Sal Mountains, we estimate about two percent of the buck deer have the disease.

“We did not detect any animals with CWD in the Manti unit in central Utah this year,” McFarlane says. “We’ve tested nearly 1,400 deer in that area since the fall of 2003, and we’ve detected only three mule deer with disease.”

Of the seven deer that tested positive for the disease this past fall, six were taken on the La Sal Mountains. The seventh deer was a mature buck taken close to Brush Creek, which is near Vernal.

All of the hunters who took the deer have been notified that their animals tested positive for CWD.

CWD first confirmed in Utah in 2003

Since the fall of 2002, almost 12,000 deer in Utah have been tested for CWD. A total of 33 of these animals had the disease.

Twenty-four of the 33 deer came from the LaSal Mountains; five came from the Vernal area; one was taken near the south end of Flaming Gorge Reservoir; one was killed near Fountain Green; and two were taken 20 miles north of Fountain Green.

CWD is fatal to deer and elk that contract it. However, according to the World Health Organization, “There is currently no evidence that CWD in cervidae (deer and elk) is transmitted to humans.”

For more information about CWD, please visit the DWR’s Web site at wildlife.utah.gov/diseases/cwd