Chronic wasting disease in deer concerns NC wildlife officials

YADKIN COUNTY, N.C. — A deadly disease that’s impacting deer across the U.S. has now been detected in North Carolina, and wildlife officials are keeping a close eye on the situation to keep the disease from spreading as much as possible.

It’s called Chronic wasting disease, and it’s a prion disease that has a 100% mortality rate in deer, according to state biologists. Signs of the disease in deer include weight loss, lethargy, and staggering.

Channel 9 has spoken with hunters who have a lot of concern about the disease and its impact on the deer population. So far, it’s been found in three deer in Surry and Yadkin counties, which are north of Charlotte. There has been mandatory testing going on in the area to learn more about its spread.

The first case found in deer here in North Carolina happened in March, and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is conducting testing across the state. To conduct the testing, scientists must remove the lymph nodes of a deer, and they’re working closely with hunters and meat processors to collect samples. Scientists have also set up freezers at several locations with the hope that hunters and others will voluntarily participate by providing research samples.

NC Wildlife Biologist Danny Ray says the point of the testing is to “contain the disease in the area that it is found now and not allow it to spread to other areas.”

“We are doing our best to keep people from moving deer and deer parts out of that infected area,” Ray told Channel 9′s Dave Faherty.

The state is expecting to test thousands of deer. Much of that testing will happen during the muzzle-loading season and the first week in rifle season around Thanksgiving.

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