Iowa DNR to discuss CWD Feb. 17 in Allamakee County
Des Moines — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has scheduled two public meetings to discuss the status of the deer herd in Allamakee County after a third hunter harvested deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) during the 2014 deer season.
Meetings are scheduled at 2 p.m., Feb. 17, in the Harpers Ferry Community Center, 238 N. Fourth Street, in Harpers Ferry, then at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 17, in the Waukon Banquet Center, 612 Rossville Road, in Waukon.
After the initial CWD positive deer was found in Allamakee County in 2013, the DNR, with the help of cooperative hunters, increased its surveillance in a five-mile radius around where the deer was harvested to help determine the extent of the disease.
Dr. Dale Garner, chief of wildlife for the Iowa DNR, confirmed all samples received to date from Allamakee and Clayton counties have been tested and no additional positive detections have been found. The DNR will continue to test additional samples as they become available.
“We’ve learned from other states that we need to move strategically, but fairly quickly, to get on top of this before CWD becomes established,” Garner said. The Iowa DNR will present its findings, discuss available options and seek input during the meetings.
CWD is a neurological disease belonging to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases. It attacks the brain of infected deer and elk causing the animals to lose weight, display abnormal behavior, lose body functions and die. It is always fatal to the infected animal.
The Iowa DNR’s wildlife staff sets an annual goal of collecting 4,500 samples. Since testing began in 2002, more than 57,000 tissue samples have been collected and tested looking for the presence of CWD in Iowa’s wild deer herd. The effort has focused on portions of northeast and eastern Iowa near Wisconsin, Illinois, and south-central Iowa near Missouri, where CWD has been detected. Additional testing has been conducted in Pottawattamie, Cerro Gordo and Davis counties, following positive tests from captive facilities. The disease has been found in every state around Iowa.
Iowa DNR’s website provides information about CWD and other information on infectious disease.