Chronic Wasting Disease found in captive reindeer in Illinois


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) – A captive reindeer in northern Illinois has been found to have Chronic Wasting Disease.

CWD causes brain and nerve issues and is fatal.

Symptoms include weight loss, stumbling, excessive thirst, drooling, and listlessness.

The only definitive way to diagnose CWD is through tissue testing after death, because symptoms match so many other diseases.

There is no USDA approved live animal test available to determine if an animal has CWD.

The affected reindeer was sampled on April 23 after it died unexpectedly.

Prior to this incident, CWD had only been detected in one free-ranging reindeer herd in Norway in 2016. 

This is the first known case of a reindeer being confirmed positive in North America.

The herd is a member of the IDOA's Illinois Chronic Wasting Disease Certified Herd Program and has been placed under quarantine. 

There is no evidence of CWD being infectious to humans and it does not appear to naturally affect cattle or other domesticated animals.

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