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Iowa DNR to host chronic wasting disease meetings Oct. 11 in Harpers Ferry and Waukon and Oct. 17 in Elkader

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has scheduled three meetings in northeast Iowa to discuss the results from the special scientific deer collection effort conducted during late January and February around Harpers Ferry and in the northern portion of Allamakee County. The collection effort was an important part of the Iowa DNR’s chronic wasting disease (CWD) monitoring.

Meetings are scheduled Oct. 11 at 2 p.m., in the Harpers Ferry Community Center, 234 Fourth Street, in Harpers Ferry, and at 6:30 p.m., at the Waukon Banquet Center, 612 Rossville Road, in Waukon. On Oct. 17, a meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Keystone Area Education Association building, 1400 Second Street NW, in Elkader.

“This meeting gives us a chance to present the results of our special collection effort,” said Terry Haindfield, wildlife biologist for the Iowa DNR who is leading the effort to combat CWD. “We will also discuss where we go from here, how hunters can submit a tissue sample and how to slow the spread.”

The meetings coincide with the opening of Iowa’s deer hunting seasons. Archery season opens Oct. 1 and the early muzzleloader season opens Oct. 14. The DNR works with hunters to collect tissue samples for testing.

The Iowa DNR’s wildlife staff sets an annual goal of collecting 4,500 samples. Since testing began in 2002, more than 62,500 tissue samples have been collected and tested looking for the presence of CWD in Iowa’s wild deer herd. The effort has focused on portions of northeast and eastern Iowa near Wisconsin, Illinois, and south-central Iowa near Missouri, where CWD has been detected. Additional testing has been conducted in Pottawattamie, Cerro Gordo and Davis counties, following positive tests from captive facilities. All counties have at least 15 samples taken to check for CWD.  The disease has been found in every state around Iowa.

CWD is a neurological disease belonging to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases.  It attacks the brain of infected deer and elk causing the animals to lose weight, display abnormal behavior, lose body functions and die. It is always fatal to the infected animal.

The Iowa DNR has more information about CWD and other infectious disease online at www.iowadnr.gov/cwd

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