SPRINGFIELD, ILL. – Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been detected in three additional deer in northern Illinois, bringing to seven the number of confirmed cases of the disease in the state, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced today. CWD is not known to be contagious to livestock or humans.

Of the three new cases, two are in McHenry County, including one near the Wisconsin border in the northwest corner of the county. The other is southeast of Woodstock near a previously reported case. The third is in western Boone County, near previously reported cases. The Boone County case was a 1 ½ year old male. The northwest McHenry County case was a 2 ½ year old female and the other case was a 1 ½ year old male.

The samples were taken as part of IDNR’s CWD surveillance of deer harvested during the firearm deer season in late November and early December. Testing was conducted at the Illinois Department of Agriculture Disease Laboratories. Follow-up tests on all three cases were conducted at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirming the diagnoses.

“Our surveillance program is continuing to work well,” said IDNR Director Brent Manning. “We are continuing to study the data as it becomes available and are refining our strategy.”

Manning said that strategy could include aerial deer population surveys and additional sampling in northern Illinois in the vicinity of known CWD-positive animals.

Illinois expanded its surveillance efforts for CWD earlier this year and created a joint task force with the Departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture following the CWD outbreak in southern Wisconsin. About 4,000 samples of hunter-harvested deer were taken in 36 counties around Illinois during the firearm deer season Nov. 22-24 and Dec.5-8. Tests have been completed on more than 2,300 samples, with only six positive results.

Counties sampled for CWD during the 2002 firearm deer hunting season included: Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Winnebago, Boone, McHenry, Carroll, Ogle, DeKalb, Whiteside, Rock Island, Bureau, LaSalle, Hancock, Adams, Pike, Fulton, McLean, Vermilion, Sangamon, Macoupin, Shelby, Fayette, Effingham, Clark, Lawrence, Madison, St. Clair, Clinton, Washington, Randolph, Jefferson, Marion, Williamson, Union, Johnson and Pope. Counties were selected based on a variety of factors including geographic location, size of deer population and the number of facilities with captive deer or elk

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.

CWD has been diagnosed in wild, free-ranging deer and elk as well as in captive animals in a number of western states but earlier this year was found in neighboring Wisconsin and Minnesota.

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. A web application that allows participating hunters to check the status of test results for deer sampled during the firearm deer season is available at that site.

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