Title: Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Spreads to Two More Deer-Breeding Facilities in South Texas
Subtitle: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department warns of devastating consequences if not properly managed
In a concerning development for wildlife experts and deer enthusiasts, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been detected in two additional deer-breeding facilities in South Texas. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) confirmed two positive cases of CWD, one in Frio County and another in Zavala County.
These new cases mark the second instance of CWD in their respective counties, intensifying concerns over the potential long-term effects on Texas’ deer populations and its economy, including ranching, hunting, wildlife management, and real estate. CWD is a fatal neurological illness found in deer and other members of the deer family.
The first recorded case of CWD in Texas dates back to 2012 when a free-ranging mule deer tested positive. Since then, the disease has been identified in both captive and free-ranging cervids, including white-tailed deer, mule deer, red deer, and elk. Infected animals may not demonstrate symptoms for several years, complicating efforts to contain the spread of the disease.
The two latest cases involved a 2-year-old white-tailed doe and a 3-year-old white-tailed buck. Clinical signs of CWD in deer may include stumbling, weight loss, lack of coordination, loss of appetite, teeth grinding, abnormal head posture, excessive thirst, salivation, and urination.
It is important to note that there is currently no evidence suggesting that CWD is transmissible to humans. However, experts advise against consuming meat from infected animals.
Since 2012, a total of 508 CWD cases have been reported in Texas, with one case in Bexar County, further heightening concerns about the disease’s pervasive presence within the state.
To combat the spread of CWD, TPWD staff will propose the establishment of “CWD surveillance zones” near the affected facilities. These areas will require testing for CWD in every member of a vulnerable species that is killed. Hunters will need to bring the intact and unfrozen head of the carcass to designated check stations within 48 hours of harvesting.
For hunters in the San Antonio area, the two closest check stations are located in Hondo and Harper, offering convenient options for CWD testing.
The discovery of CWD in two more deer-breeding facilities in South Texas highlights the urgent need for proactive measures to limit the disease’s devastating impact on Texas’ deer populations and the associated sectors of its economy.
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