PHOENIX — Arizona Game and Fish Department officials have not found any cases of chronic wasting disease in the state’s deer and elk populations despite the illness being detected in nearby states.

Tests for the fatal neurodegenerative disease in 1,342 deer and elk have come back negative. Currently chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been confirmed in the neighboring states of Utah, New Mexico and Colorado.

“The continued vigilance of hunters is essential for the Department’s effective surveillance of CWD in deer and elk,” said Wildlife Biologist Carrington Knox. “The CWD surveillance program is reliant on the voluntary submission of samples by hunters and samples collected by taxidermists and meat processors. This data is critical to our early detection efforts and we are very appreciative of all the effort to ensure the program is a success.”

CWD is fatal to deer, elk and moose all of which may not show any visible signs of the illness in early stages of infection. As the illness progresses, the animal suffers progressive weight loss, exhibits abnormal behavior and eventually dies.

To further protect Arizona’s deer and elk herds from CWD, new regulations were put into place on the movement of animal parts into the state. As of July 1, 2013 hunters are prohibited from bringing the brain, intact skull or spinal column into Arizona from out of state.

The following elk or deer parts harvested out-of-state are allowed into Arizona:

  • Boneless portions of meat or meat that has been cut and packaged;
  • Clean hides and capes with no skull or soft tissue attached;
  • Antlers, clean skull plates or skulls with antlers attached with no meat or soft tissue remaining;
  • Finished taxidermy mounts or products;
  • Upper canine teeth (buglers, whistlers, ivories) with no meat or tissue attached.

For more information on CWD, visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s website; the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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