MDC Steps Up Efforts to Watch for CWD in Southern MO Deer

By Michelle Skalicky

The Missouri Department of Conservation has increased surveillance efforts for Chronic Wasting Disease in deer in southern Missouri after CWD was found in northern Arkansas. 

MDC staff have ramped up sample collection for a CWD testing process that has been ongoing in Missouri since 2002. Earlier this spring, 86 cases of the disease were found in northern Arkansas-82 in deer and four in elk.  

CWD is spread from deer to deer and is fatal to the animals. The neurological disease infects only deer and other members of the cervid family and causes degeneration of brain tissue. 

A focus area of 50 miles from Arkansas' CWD positive tests has been established.  

The area consists of Barry, Christian, Douglas, Ozark, Stone and Taney Counties in Missouri. Since mid-spring, MDC staff has increased efforts in those counties to collect samples from sick and road-kill deer to test for CWD. According to MDC, to date, more than 51,000 deer have been tested for CWD in Missouri. 

A total of 27 cases of the disease has been confirmed in the state. Those were found in the northeast, central and east-central portions of Missouri. 

MDC asks anyone who sees a deer portraying signs of illness or abnormal behavior to call their local MDC office or contact the county's conservation agent.