The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced June 15 that Chronic Wasting Disease had been detected in a road-killed deer sampled for routine surveillance in Holmes County, Florida, a first for that state.
CWD has not been detected in the state of Georgia, according to the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division (WRD). The Department is prepared to implement its CWD response protocol if the disease is ever detected in the state. WRD has conducted annual surveillance for CWD since 2002.
To prevent the spread of the disease, hunters are advised that live importation of all deer species from other states is prohibited, and has been since 2005.
Georgia hunters who hunt out-of-state may only bring home boned out meat, hides, skulls or skull caps with antlers attached and all soft tissue removed (velvet antlers are okay), jawbones with no soft tissue, elk ivories, and finished taxidermy mounts. All other carcass parts must be left behind.
Chronic Wasting Disease is a fatal neurological disease of deer, elk, and moose caused by infectious proteins called prions. There is no treatment and the disease always results in the death of the infected animal.
Often, CWD-infected deer look completely normal, which is why transport regulations are important. Over time, symptoms appear such as dramatic weight loss and poor body condition. Subtle head tremors may occur, head and ears may be droopy and, in the last stages, it is not uncommon for the animal to have excessive drooling.
If you observe a deer with any of these symptoms, please contact your local WRD Game Management Office.
CWD has not been known to be transmissible to humans, and the Centers for Disease Control advises that CWD-positive deer should not be consumed.
CWD positive states and locations are Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming as well as Canadian provinces Alberta, Quebec and Saskatchewan.
Find more information on CWD on the WRD website.