Local News

Deer disease nets less than one percent

Area conservation officer, for Nebraska Game and Parks, Matt Taylor, said a sampling operation for chronic waste disease in deer was recently conducted in the southeastern part of the state.
Chronic waste disease attacks the brain of an infected deer and elk, causing emaciation, listlessness, excessive salivation and death.
The disease may be transferred through body fluids.  
It was the first time for the sampling, which is on a four-year cycle.
Taylor said the sampling will not be conducted for another four years.
The region had one confirmed case of the disease, less than one percent of the total sampling.
“The disease is uncurable. All the states around us have bigger issues with it,” Taylor said.
Although present in Colorado and Wyoming for several decades, chronic waste disease was first discovered in Kimball County in 2000. Since 1997, commission staff have tested nearly 49,000 deer and found 296 to be positive. The disease has been found in 34 Nebraska counties, but no population declines because of the disease have occurred.  
The samplings were conducted at deer check stations from the November 2016 firearm deer season. In all, the commission found four positive samples out of 753 deer in Thayer, Saline, Cass and Polk counties.
Taylor said the uncurable disease seeps into the soil and transfers to different species.
“If people see and think there are issues, we will come out and see if it is a sick deer,” Taylor said. “There is no indication that it can pass to humans. I advise people to be cautious. If a deer looks sick, don’t eat it. Field dress it and dispose of the carcass.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no person is known to have contracted the disease.
Livestock and other animals not in the deer family, do not appear susceptible to the disease.
Taylor encourages citizens to contact him with any issues at 402-200-9597.  

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