NewsIdaho Back Roads


Chronic Wasting Disease found in two Idaho mule deer

Mule Deer
Posted at 5:08 PM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 11:12:02-05

LUCILE, Idaho — Two mule deer bucks harvested in October in the Slate Creek drainage tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), the first confirmed positive tests in Idaho.

Idaho Fish and Game says both hunters have been notified their bucks tested positive. CWD has been known to exist in the Western United States for over 40 years, but this is the first time animals in Idaho have tested positive. CWD is fatal to deer, elk, moose and caribou, according to IDFG.

Animals infected with CWD are typically thin and show neurologic signs. CWD is a neurologic disorder that causes the brain to degenerate and develop cavities becoming "sponge-like" in appearance. The disease is contagious between animals by either direct or indirect contact with infected animals or their habitat.

CWD is not believed to be contagious to people.

CWD has been documented in many states in the United States, several Canadian provinces, South Korea, Norway and Finland.

Samples from the diseased mule deer were tested at the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Lab and are being verified by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory.

Anyone hunting in Unit 14 is encouraged to have any harvested deer or elk tested. To sample for CWD, lymph node tissue from fresh or frozen harvested heads are extracted. Meat or muscle tissue cannot be used to test for the disease, according to IDFG.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission, Idaho Department of Agriculture, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and the U.S. Department of Agriculture all have been notified.

More information will be provided by IDFG when it becomes available. Click here for more information about Chronic Wasting Disease.