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IDFG: Two more Chronic Wasting Disease cases detected in cow elk, white-tailed doe

The Idaho Fish and Game said the latest detections bring the Gem State's total positive CWD cases to six. All cases were found in Unit 14.
Credit: Thinkstock
File image of female elk in northern California.

IDAHO COUNTY, Idaho — A cow elk and a white-tailed deer doe tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Unit 14 in Idaho County Jan. 10, the Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) said in a press release Wednesday. 

According to IDFG, the whitetail was four miles south from Slate Creek, in the same area where hunters took in two mule deer bucks in October that were the first-ever CWD detections in Idaho. 

The elk was just over a mile northeast of White Bird, IDFG said. 

As of Tuesday, the IDFG had taken about 550 samples from the area where CWD has been detected, which includes Unit 14, Unit 15 and some areas adjacent to the two units. 

With the two new detections, IDFG has now seen six positive cases of CWD in animals in the area, including the two mule deer bucks, two whitetail bucks, one whitetail doe, and one cow elk. All six positive cases were found in Unit 14, according to IDFG. 

Across the Gem State, IDFG tested more than 2,500 animals for CWD in 2021. The agency has been testing for the disease since 1997 and sampled more than 20,000 animals in those 24 years, according to IDFG's press release. 

IDFG defined CWD as "a neurological disease that affects deer, elk, moose and caribou. There is no practical live test for the disease, so only samples taken from dead animals can be used."

While Idaho's six CWD cases make the disease new in the Gem State, IDFG said CWD is found in 27 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces, including Montana, Wyoming and Utah.

Fish and Game said the impacts of CWD in animals consists of extremely low body weight, wide stance, lowered head, droopy ears and excessive salivation. IDFG asks for the public to report any deer or elk showing signs of CWD here

IDFG said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not had any reports of CWD in humans to this point, but it is encouraged that people do not eat meat from animals testing positive for CWD. 

It can be hard to detect, as CWD takes nearly 10 months to begin showing physical impacts on an animal after it is infected. IDFG said there is no live test for CWD, but samples from dead animals can be used. 

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