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Clayton County deer tests positive for chronic wasting disease

A wild deer taken during the 2016 deer hunting season northwest of Elkader has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), which is the first CWD positive wild deer confirmed outside of Allamakee County.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has scheduled a public meeting to discuss the status of the disease in Iowa and surrounding states on Feb. 13, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., in Johnson’s Reception Hall, 916 High St. N.E., in Elkader.

Clayton County, like its neighbor to the north, Allamakee County, is a popular deer hunting destination attracting recreational landowners and hunters form across the state and beyond.

Allamakee County had 10 additional CWD positive deer taken during the 2016 season from near Harpers Ferry, bringing its total of CWD positive wild deer since 2013 to 16.  

“Chronic wasting disease is an important issue, especially here regionally, and this meeting will give attendees a platform to discuss their questions and concerns,” said Dr. Dale Garner, chief of Wildlife for the Iowa DNR. “This meeting will guide our approach to addressing this disease.”

The disease is spread from animal to animal through nose to nose contact and through environmental contamination from urine, feces and saliva left by positive deer. There is no cure once an animal becomes infected.

This disease is not just an Iowa issue; Minnesota has had a spike in deer testing positive for the disease as well. Illinois, Nebraska, Missouri and Wisconsin are all battling this disease.

The Iowa DNR began collecting deer tissue samples in 2002 after the CWD outbreak in Wisconsin. Since then, more than 61,000 samples from wild deer and 4,000 samples from hunting preserve deer have been collected and tested. The first wild deer tested positive in 2013, followed by three in 2014, two in 2015 and 11 so far in 2016.

Iowa DNR’s website provides information about CWD and other information on infectious disease at: www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Deer-Hunting/Deer-Disease-Information

Any person attending the public meeting and has special requirements such as those related to mobility or hearing impairments should contact the DNR or ADA Coordinator at 515-725-8200, Relay Iowa TTY Service 800-735-7942, or Webmaster@dnr.iowa.gov, and advise of specific needs.

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