Louisiana detected seven new CWD positives since July

Published 3:15 pm Monday, February 19, 2024

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TENSAS PARISH — Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries detected seven new Chronic Wasting Disease positives in the 2023 to 2024 hunting season. Deer Program Manager Johnathan Bordelon said additional sample results are pending so there could be new positives.  

Chronic Wasting Disease is a 100 percent always fatal disease to deer and other members of the cervidae family. CWD is caused by an infectious prion, a misfolded protein, shed by infected deer in bodily fluids. Healthy deer contract CWD by direct contact with infected deer or indirect contact with prions in the environment. Prions are known to persist in the soil. 

Louisiana hunters submitted more than 2,300 samples in the 2023 to 2024 hunting season for Chronic Wasting Disease testing. Bordelon said surveillance goals were met in northeast Louisiana. All of the 19 positives found in Louisiana were in Tensas Parish. 

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“All detections have been along the Mississippi River in Tensas Parish. More results to come,” Bordelon said. “Once all results are available, we will assess the distribution of positives to inform future mitigation. At this time, no change in the distribution of detections is welcome news. Continued surveillance and adherence to mitigation efforts are as important as ever.”

It is important to remember areas of Concordia Parish north and east of US 425 and US84 are in the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone while portions to the west are not in the zone. A 25 mile radius from a southern positive detected in Tensas Parish placed the north portion of Concordia Parish in the zone last June. 

CWD in Mississippi

Across the Mississippi River from Tensas Parish, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks detected a positive in Claiborne County in January. The positive in Claiborne County is considered suspect until it is confirmed by a national laboratory. 

Mississippi State University Deer Lab detected CWD prions in a scrape in Claiborne County during a research project last summer. 

MDWFP reported the positive deer was not clinical, or showing symptoms. Deer typically show symptoms in the late stages of the disease, which can take 12 to 18 months after infection.

MDWFP’s dashboard map shows the CWD positive was detected west of Port Gibson approximately three miles from the state boundary line of the Mississippi River and about 10 miles from positives in Tensas Parish. 

Hunters submitted 8,269 samples for Chronic Wasting Disease testing in FY2024. MDWFP’s dashboard reports 108 positive detections in FY2024. More samples and positives could come in over the next few weeks from southeast Mississippi.

A CWD Update is expected at the MDWFP Commission meeting this Thursday. The meeting will be at Black Prairie Wildlife Management Area in Crawford.