JASPER – Six more deer from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s chronic wasting disease sampling effort have turned up positive, according to the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Madison. This brings the total of CWD-positive cases of Arkansas deer and elk to 56.

All six deer that tested positive came from Newton County inside the sampling focal area. The final results from the intensive sampling effort should be available late next week.

Although a true prevalence rate cannot be determined until the last of the samples come in, the high number of positive results has already prompted a second sampling effort to determine whether the disease is present in other parts of the state. AGFC biologists and wildlife officers will begin collecting samples from road-killed deer and any sick or dead deer reported throughout Arkansas.

Anyone who witnesses a sick, dead or road-killed deer or elk should contact the AGFC’s radio room at 800-482-9262. Operators are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Reports will be sent to the appropriate person to collect samples.

Deer or elk infected with CWD tend to stay away from herds, may lose their fear of humans, walk in patterns, carry their head low, salivate excessively and grind their teeth. As the disease progresses, the animal will lose weight, develop an insatiable thirst and lose bodily functions.

The AGFC is holding weekly public meetings at Carroll Electric Cooperative, 511 E. Court St. in Jasper to update the public on the results from its sampling efforts. The next meeting will be at 11 a.m., April 7. Visit www.agfc.com/cwd for more information.