Salt Lake City — A buck deer taken by a hunter in northeastern Utah has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), the Division of Wildlife Resources has announced.

“The Division of Wildlife Resources has been looking for Chronic Wasting Disease in Utah since 1998,” said Jim Karpowitz, big game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. “When the Colorado Division of Wildlife discovered a CWD positive deer near the town of Craig in early 2002, we decided to intensify our surveillance efforts, focusing on mule deer populations along the Colorado border.”

Nearly 1,500 brain samples were collected from deer and elk in Utah in fall 2002. Almost 1,400 of the deer and elk have been tested for CWD so far, with only one positive sample.

The positive sample came from a mature buck deer taken this fall on Diamond Mountain, just north of Vernal. Utah State University is conducting CWD testing for the DWR. See map — (PDF format)

“It’s important to remember that there is currently no evidence that CWD can be naturally transmitted to humans or livestock,” Karpowitz said. “It also does not appear to cause catastrophic die offs in deer and elk populations.”

A great deal of research is being conducted by many agencies and organizations to learn more about this relatively new disease. “Until more is known, we’ll continue to be diligent with our surveillance and management efforts and provide the public with the most current information available,” Karpowitz said.

Another excellent source of information is a national Web site ran by the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance (cwd-info.org). “This site includes links to CWD information on other Web sites,” Karpowitz said. “I would encourage people to link from it to Wisconsin’s site, which has some excellent information about CWD.”