DNR’s annual chronic wasting disease report revealed some good news — or was it bad news? There are two ways to look at it, I guess.
According to the report, there were 72 CWD-positive deer identified in Illinois during the recently ended fiscal year, only one more than the 71 positives discovered during FY 2015. But DNR isn’t ready to celebrate the flat numbers – 72 represents the most cases since the state began monitoring.
“We’d like to see the numbers decreasing, obviously, but we also see it as good news that the numbers didn’t rise dramatically,” said Doug Dufford, DNR’s wildlife disease program manager. “In general, our big concern is the expansion of where the positive deer were found this past year. The number of counties with a CWD positive remained the same, but the positive deer were in a wider area and in new areas of counties.”
In its FY 2016 CWD Surveillance and Management Report, which covered the period between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016, DNR notes that 8,544 deer were tested over the course of the year – 6,850 of the deer were taken by hunters. The disease prevalence rate for deer taken by hunters was a relatively low 1.09 percent, but again caution is suggested.
“While prevalence rates have remained very low and changed little over time since discovery of CWD in 2002, there does seem to be a very slowly increasing trend in recent years,” authors of the report noted.
True, the number of positive cases each year hovered between 36 and 51 between 2003 and 2013. It jumped to 59 in 2013-14 and then to 71 last year.
Read more about the Illinois CWD report in the Aug. 19 issue of Illinois Outdoor News