Second Warren County deer tests positive for Chronic Wasting Disease

Published 5:59 pm Thursday, January 13, 2022

By Hunter Cloud
The Natchez Democrat

JACKSON — The Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks on Wednesday confirmed a second suspect case of Chronic Wasting Disease detected in a deer harvested in Warren County.

Deer Program Director William McKinley said the deer was found close to the Issaquena County line and its discovery would not change the CWD management zone. Another deer that tested positive for CWD was found in the same area in mid-December.

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Warren County is currently in the CWD management zone with Issaquena and Sharkey counties. Mississippi’s CWD samples are sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Wisconsin. They will likely be confirmed positive cases of CWD, McKinley said.

In 2018, Mississippi’s first case of CWD was detected in Issaquena County. Another positive case was confirmed in 2019. Until December 2021, no CWD cases were detected in the zone. Nearly half of Mississippi’s CWD cases came from Benton County in the far northern part of the state.

McKinley said people in Issaquena and Warren counties might have fallen into a false impression that the disease had gone away.

“It’s important to get every animal hunter harvest tested. The disease was likely carried out by deer fleeing the floodwaters,” McKinley said. “The positives in Warren County are 4.5 and 3.5 miles from the Issaquena County samples. CWD does not go away. It takes intensive management and effort to keep it at bay.”

Mississippi Hunters have submitted 4,169 Chronic Wasting Disease samples for testing from July 1, 2020 through Jan. 13, 2022. Of that total, 95 cases have been confirmed statewide and 26 others — including the two recent ones in Warren County — are suspected to be positive.

In counties considered a CWD Management Zone, like Warren County, the goal is to have 300 samples collected during deer season. Warren County has submitted 218 samples for testing as of Thursday and Issaquena County had submitted 77.

CWD is a contagious and fatal neurological disease that typically causes deer to have tremors and other movement problems. The disease is most easily transmitted through saliva. Decomposing carcasses can also transmit the disease into soil and plant material and introduce it to new areas.

The disease is not transmittable to humans, but hunters are still advised to exercise caution and not eat any potentially infected animal.

Hunters can submit deer for testing at established freezer locations or participating taxidermists. There are two drop-off locations in Warren County and one in Issaquena County:

• Communication Specialists, 760 U.S. 61 North in Vicksburg

• The Phil Bryant Wildlife Management Area, 11641 Mississippi 465

• Mahannah Wildlife Management Area, 1370 Anderson-Tully Rd. in Redwood

All three sites have freezers available 24 hours a day where hunters can deposit deer heads for testing. Hunters should preserve the head with at least 6 inches of neck attached. The antlers may be removed before depositing the head.

For more dropoff locations and information on CWD, visit the MDWFP website at https://www.mdwfp.com/wildlife-hunting/chronic-wasting-disease/