Captive-herd reindeer in Illinois tests positive for CWD, a first in North America

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been identified in one reindeer in a captive herd in northern Illinois, the state Department of Agriculture said in a news release June 8.

The affected reindeer was sampled on April 23 during a necropsy after the animal died unexpectedly, according to the release. Tissues for CWD testing were submitted to the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for analysis and the diagnosis was confirmed at the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, on May 9. Samples were subsequently sent for DNA testing with confirmation received on June 5.

This is the first known case of a reindeer being confirmed positive in North America. Prior to this detection, CWD had only been detected in one free-ranging reindeer herd in Norway in 2016. The susceptibly of reindeer to CWD had been much debated prior to this detection.

The herd is a member of the IDOA’s Illinois Chronic Wasting Disease Certified Herd Program and has been placed under quarantine. The Illinois Department of Agriculture is working closely with the herd owner and USDA Veterinary Services to manage the herd, the release said.

Categories: CWD

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