MAYERSVILLE, Miss. (AP) – The discovery of Mississippi’s first deer infected with chronic wasting disease has prompted wildlife officials to request people avoid feeding deer.
Monday’s Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries release says the 4-year-old buck was found dead and emaciated in late January near the Louisiana border. It tested positive for CWD on Jan. 29, and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks banned feeding deer in several counties. LDWF has also asked several counties stop.
CWD is an infectious neurodegenerative disease similar to mad cow disease and is always fatal. Mississippi is the 25th state to confirm the disease’s presence. CWD is caused by mutated prions creating holes in brain tissue and spreads through infected deer or material contact. There is no practical method for decontaminating prion-infected areas yet.
According the the state department of health, the CDC now recommends that hunters harvesting deer from areas with reported CWD should strongly consider having those animals tested before eating the meat. However, CWD cannot be positively detected in muscle tissue such as processed meat.
“Since there is no test that can safely rule out CWD infection in processed meat, MSDH is recommending hunters consider not eating venison from deer harvested in an area with known CWD, said Dr. Paul Byers.