STEVENS POINT — Anyone interested in learning more about the recent discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease in the deer herd in Portage County is invited to attend an informational meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, at the George W Mead State Wildlife Area.
A panel of experts on wildlife health, wildlife biology and conservation law will give a short presentation and will then answer questions and obtain input from the audience. The meeting will be in the Mead visitor center, located at 2148 County Hwy S, north of Milladore off U.S. 10.
Early in January, the state Department of Natural Resources reported a deer harvested in northwest Portage County during the 2012 gun deer season tested positive for CWD. The 1.5-year-old doe was harvested in deer management unit 57A, in the Town of Eau Pleine, close to the Mead Wildlife Area in northwest Portage County. The Mead wildlife area covers portions of Portage, Wood and Marathon counties.
This was the first finding of CWD in a wild deer in Portage County. DNR biologists have been sampling deer harvested in Portage County for the past 10 years subsequent to the discovery of CWD on two captive deer farms. One of these game farms was depopulated in 2002 and the other in 2008. It is not known how the young doe harvested in late 2012 became infected with CWD.
CWD is a nervous system disease of deer, moose and elk. It belongs to the family of fatal diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases. CWD occurs only in members of the cervid or deer family, both wild and captive. Current information suggests that CWD may be transmitted both directly through animal to animal contact and indirectly from a CWD-prion contaminated environment. Recent studies indicate that CWD prions exist in the saliva, urine, and feces of infected deer.
To learn more about CWD, visit the department’s website and enter the search keyword CWD, then click on “Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Wisconsin’s Wild White-tailed Deer.”
More news from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.