State encouraging Deer Hunters to test Deer for CWD

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ILLINOIS – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is offering testing locations for Chronic Wasting Disease and encourages deer hunters to bring in any adult deer they kill.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological disease found in cervids (deer and elk). The disease attacks the brains of affected animals, causing them to become emancipated, display abnormal behavior, lose coordination and eventually die.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources website explains there are several apparent signs, such as progressive weight loss and the deer lowering its head with drooped ears, but some infected deer may not show signs of the illness for 18 months after being infected.

71 cases of CWD were reported in Illinois in the 2015 fiscal year (July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015), with 538 total cases taking place in the state since 2003.

While there is no scientific evidence that CWD can infect humans, scientists still have much to learn about the disease. The Department of Natural Resources also says they cannot state that the transmission of CWD to humans is absolutely not possible.

Natural Resource officials have several locations serving as CWD sampling stations. Stations will be taking samples from entire deer or deer heads through January 17, 2016.

These samples are being collected as a part of the department’s program to monitor and reduce spread of the disease.

A list of CWD sampling stations is available here.

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