Case of chronic wasting disease in LaGrange County deer, first in Indiana

University of Florida: Stock photo

LAGRANGE COUNTY, Ind. - The Indiana DNR confirmed the state’s first positive case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in an adult male white-tailed deer in LaGrange County.

CWD is a fatal infectious disease, caused by a misfolded prion, a type of protein, that affects the nervous system in deer.

It spreads from deer-to-deer contact, bodily fluids, through contaminated environments, and can stay in the soil for years.

CWD has been detected in 33 states, including the states bordering Indiana: Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Kentucky.

DNR officials say CWD was detected in Michigan near the Indiana border, so detection in LaGrange County was likely.

There's been no reported cases of CWD infection in people, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends hunters strongly consider having deer tested before eating the meat, as animals infected with CWD shouldn't be consumed.

DNR officials say their current CWD response plan is based on the latest scientific information about the effectiveness of CWD management.

There are currently no actions that have been shown to cure deer of CWD, prevent deer from getting CWD, stop or significantly slow the spread of CWD, or eradicate it from the deer herd.

The DNR instead says their plan focuses on monitoring the spread of the disease and informing Indiana residents how they can safely navigate CWD’s presence.

DNR officials ask that if you see sick or dead wildlife, to report your observations online here.

If you have any questions, you can contact the DNR Deer Disease Hotline at 844-803-0002 to speak to a wildlife health biologist.

For more information on CWD, visit here.

The Indiana DNR also reminds the public to help keep wildlife wild and slow the spread of CWD by leaving fawns be.

During their first few weeks of life, fawns often hide by themselves and stay motionless to avoid predators while the mother is looking for food.

Officials say if you find a fawn alone, even in your lawn, you can help keep it safe by letting it be, giving it space, and leaving the area, because its mother is likely nearby.

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