Salt Lake City (May 21, 2003) – An adult female deer from southeastern Utah has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources announced today.
The deer had been acting sick, so when it died, its carcass was submitted for testing according to our CWD surveillance protocol, said Alan Clark, Wildlife Section chief for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
The deer died on April 22, 2003 in an agricultural field on the west side of the LaSal Mountains in southeastern Utah, about ten miles from Moab. (see map) DWR personnel collected the deer and sent it to the USU Provo Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for a necropsy. Ultimately the animal was determined positive for CWD, which was the cause of death.
This is the second deer in Utah to test positive for the disease. A deer harvested by a hunter last fall on Diamond Mountain north of Vernal also tested positive.
“It’s important to remember that there is currently no evidence that CWD can be naturally transmitted to humans or livestock,” said Jim Karpowitz, big game coordinator for the DWR. “It also does not appear to cause catastrophic die offs in deer or 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.
People can learn more about CWD by logging onto the DWR’s Web site at www.wildlife.utah.gov/hunting/biggame/cwd
Another excellent source of information is a national Web site run by the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance (www.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.”