Chronic Wasting Disease Spreading In Northern Illinois

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological disease threatening white-tailed deer. It was first documented in Illinois in 2002 near Roscoe. There have been more than 500 cases since then.

CWD has become established in areas near the Fox and Illinois rivers, and more recently in Stephenson and Ogle counties in northern Illinois. Doug Dufford is the state's Wildlife Disease Program Manager, and says the infection rate in Illinois is about 1 percent.

"Disease modelers that have been looking at this for many years have suggested that CWD has the potential to, if not eliminate deer, reduce populations to exceedingly low levels."

Dufford says there are no reliable vaccines to prevent the disease. It has not been shown to be transmissible to humans. Hunters are asked to alert authorities when suspect animals are found.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has scheduled a series of public meetings to provide information about the disease.