Interesting to see how some States deal with the threat.MS has some fantastic and respected whitetail biologists
"The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks received results of DNA testing done on a male deer that was found to have chronic wasting disease last month in Issaquena County and they paint a different picture than many have suggested.
"What they know is they compared the genetics of that deer with known genetics they have," said Russ Walsh, MDWFP Wildlife Executive Staff Officer. "The results suggest the genetics match those of free-range deer."
And not just any free-range deer. The genetics match those of samples taken from the Mississippi Delta, which means the deer was not imported, as many have speculated.
But what is the significance of that?
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"It doesn't change anything," Walsh said. "It just helps us piece a little more of the puzzle together.
"All it really tells us is that it's a native whitetail. All we can know from the analysis is he was a local deer. He was not brought in. That's about all it tells us."
Chronic wasting disease is caused by a misshaped protein that affects the nervous system. It is thought to be spread by direct and indirect contact with other deer and is always fatal in deer. So, the buck being a local deer tells us there are likely more cases out there.
"It lets us speculate that if he is a local deer, where did he contract it?" Walsh said. "Where are those other deer?"
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Walsh said the effort to answer that question is already underway.
"We had our initial sampling effort over the weekend," Walsh said. "We sampled 64 deer.
"We're waiting to get the results back. They'll help guide our next round of sampling efforts."
Walsh said additional samples were taken from sick deer that were reported to the department. He expects test results to be received next week.
"We're kind of in a holding pattern until we get the results back," Walsh said. "Once the results come back, we're planning to have another meeting with the public in Vicksburg."
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Even if all of the samples come back negative, Walsh said sampling for the disease will continue in the core of the CWD Management Zone.
"We'll continue to collect," Walsh said. "It could be that we collect over 200 more animals to be confident it's at a 1 percent prevalence rate."
However, Walsh was clear in stating that at this point, no one knows how many deer will be killed to determine prevalence and how widespread the disease may be.
"If we get back positives, we have to adapt as we move along," Walsh said. "Hopefully, next week we'll know more."
Some lead biologists on the Norway research team believe it can spontaneously occur in a cervid population when one animal experiences the "folding" mutation of a prion. Then it is passed on to those that are susceptible. They have no other explanation for their reindeer outbreak.
Here in the core endemic area where I live the infection rate has dropped from over 15% down to 5% over time. Curiously, our infection rate for the human version - CJD-v, is lower than the national average despite the fact that tend of thousands of people have been eating infected meat for generations.
This could really play into the hands of timber companies who are really only concerned about timber acerage prices and pretense on wildlife matters.
Overall, it could have major impact on income, licenses and taxes generated from deer hunting since MS is very hunting oriented state.
Now, nobody I know even gets theirs tested anymore unless it's in a mandatory area. Sure didn't have any impact on hunter numbers here once people figured out that WE ALL AREN'T GOING TO DIE!
This is certainly scary.Many professional businessmen are members of very expensive clubs in the MS Delta region.Im talking $500,000 memberships with big monthly dues.
The Midwest have the biggest bucks no doubt but MS has been producing a few fantastic deer lately that would be great deer anywhere.This is a huge concern for all as deer and duck hunting are cultural favorites
"The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks collected 64 tissue samples from deer last month to test for chronic wasting disease and the results were received this week.
"Bottom line, the 64 that were collected on February 23 came back negative," said Russ Walsh, MDWFP Wildlife Executive Staff Officer.
The 64 deer were killed for sampling purposes within a 5-mile radius of where a deer that tested positive for CWD was found in Issaquena County earlier this year. MDWFP is sampling deer to determine the prevalence of CWD in the area. Tissue samples have also been taken from deer near the area that died of disease or as a result of collisions with vehicles.
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"We're still waiting on test results from the diseased deer," Walsh said. "We sent off multiple samples from those and we're awaiting results from those."
Walsh explained that fresh tissue samples can be tested using a method that takes a few days to complete. For deer that were found dead, another method is used to test for CWD called immunohistochemistry and it takes longer.
"It's just taking a little longer to get those results," Walsh said. "IHC is the gold standard of testing."
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Chronic wasting disease is a contagious neurological disease that affects cervids. It is always fatal and is suspected to be passed from deer to deer through direct contact, feces, and urine. The CWD-positive deer found in Issaquena County is the first confirmed case in Mississippi.
The agency's response plan calls for sampling over 200 additional deer in the area. If no additional cases are found, Walsh said testing will continue to monitor the disease.
"We'll continue to test road kills," Walsh said. "We'll continue to answer calls for sick deer. We'll continue to collect samples."
The counties affected under the CWD Response Plan are Claiborne, Hinds, Issaquena, Sharkey, Warren and Yazoo. To report a sick deer, visit www.mdwfp.com."