MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin is eligible for $885,000 in federal money to help fight chronic wasting disease, with three-fourths of the money intended to cover the cost of testing the state’s deer herd, U.S. Rep. Dave Obey and U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl said Thursday.

The money is part of $14.9 million Congress approved earlier this year to help fight the disease. The federal government is releasing the money to states gradually and Wisconsin could get more.

The state has been the largest recipient of federal funds for CWD in the nation, according to Obey and Kohl.

Kohl and Obey, both Democrats, announced earlier this week that Wisconsin would get $218,000 from the first release. On Thursday, their offices announced Wisconsin was eligible for an additional $667,000 in federal money to test its herd for chronic wasting disease.

Department of Natural Resources Secretary Scott Hassett met last week with members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation to stress the importance of continued federal funding to help fight the disease.

State wildlife officials have found 141 wild deer with chronic wasting disease in four counties — Dane, Iowa, Richland and Sauk. Until it was found in Wisconsin, the sickness had never been found east of the Mississippi River.

A state laboratory has tested about 37,000 samples of deer brains for chronic wasting disease and shipped only two suspicious samples to a federal laboratory in Iowa to verify findings.

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