Chronic Wasting Disease testing behind due to equipment malfunction

Published 3:15 pm Wednesday, January 26, 2022

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JACKSON — Mississippi’s deer season comes to a close in the southwest and delta deer hunting zones Monday. As of Jan. 26, 2022, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks collected 5,112 Chronic Wasting Disease samples this season.

They are currently 4,888 samples shy of their goal for 10,000 CWD samples this hunting season with an additional two weeks left for the southeast deer zone. MDWFP deer program coordinator William McKinley said they have 1,426 samples waiting to be tested in a lab. 

“The lab is way behind because of an equipment malfunction. We hope it will be fixed Wednesday,” McKinley said. “Over 20% of our samples are still out to be tested. There are a lot of samples from Warren County which are in the pending samples. We are expecting a lot more results to roll in Thursday and Friday.”

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As of January 26, hunters in Adams County submitted 30 samples this season, Franklin County has 41 samples, Wilkinson County has 46 samples, Jefferson County has 63 samples and Claiborne County has 80 samples. Collecting samples is the only way the MDWFP can detect CWD and manage the disease. There is no known cure for the disease.

To date, MDWFP detected two CWD suspect positives in deer about three to four miles from where the first case of CWD was found in Issaquena County. Warren County was already in the CWD management zone. 

Statewide, 30 suspect positives are waiting to be confirmed. The majority of confirmed CWD cases are in Benton and Marshall Counties. McKinley said the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Lab has confirmed 13 of the 42 CWD detections this season. 

Chronic Wasting Disease is a disease in White-Tailed Deer, Elk, and Mule Deer. CWD is caused by a contagious prion. For some deer, it could take a year or more to develop symptoms. Those symptoms are drastic weight loss (wasting), stumbling, listlessness, and other neurologic symptoms. Infected animals shed prions through saliva, feces, blood, and urine.

Other deer can become infected through direct contact with an infected animal and indirect contact from an infected environment. Once the disease occurs in an area, evidence demonstrates eradication is unlikely.

Each time a hunter submits a sample for CWD testing they enter their name in a CWD raffle for a chance to win $1,000, and two people will win $500. Winners will be drawn at random after February 15, 2022.

Hunters can drop CWD samples off at testing locations in the Miss-Lou. Hunters in Jefferson and Adams County can submit samples at Natchez State Park located at 230-B Wickliff Road, in Franklin County samples can be dropped off at the US Forest Service office at 3085 US98 in Meadville. Wilkinson County hunters can drop CWD samples off at the Wilkinson County Sheriff’s Office at 1389 US61 in Woodville. Hunters can also submit samples through participating taxidermists.

CWD has not been detected in Claiborne, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams or Wilkinson Counties.