LINCOLN, Neb. – Chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer has appeared for the first time in Buffalo, Custer and Holt counties, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

There were 1,565 lymph node samples collected from deer taken during the 2011 November firearm deer season, with 26 samples testing positive for CWD. In addition, samples were taken from 37 culled deer that showed clinical symptoms for CWD, with one male mule deer from Garden County testing positive. Those symptoms include a rough, emaciated appearance and a lack of fear of humans.

There were a record 51 positives from 3,645 samples in Nebraska in 2010. However, the surveillance effort was reduced in 2011 due to a lack of funds. The 2011 effort focused on central Nebraska, the leading edge of the disease as it spreads from west to east.

Game and Parks confirmed CWD in the state’s deer population in 2000. CWD is a disease that can affect deer and elk and always is fatal to the affected animal. Humans have never been known to contract CWD.

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