Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Hunting Regulations 2020-2021 - Page 42



CHRONIC WASTING
DISEASE
DEER HUNTING
What You Need to Know
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) continues to monitor and test the
state’s white-tailed deer herd for chronic wasting disease (CWD). It has not been detected in
Louisiana but Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi have documented the disease. Here are some
facts about the disease:
holes to develop in brain tissue. While prions
are concentrated in the central nervous
system, they can be found within other tissues
of the infected animal, including muscle.
CWD is spread through direct deer-to-deer
contact or through contact with urine, feces,
saliva and body parts of infected deer or
infectious materials in the soil. Prions will bind
to soil particles once an infected deer carcass
has decomposed. Once in a location, the
disease is present indefinitely.
WHAT IS CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE?
CWD is a neurodegenerative disease found in most
deer species, including but not limited to whitetailed deer, mule deer, elk, red deer, moose and
caribou. It is infectious, always fatal and there is
no treatment. It’s part of a group of diseases know
as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies
(TSEs) and is similar to BSE (mad cow disease) of
cattle and scrapie in sheep. These diseases cause
irreversible damage to brain tissue which leads
to excessive salivation, neurological symptoms,
emaciation and death of the animal.
HAS IT BEEN FOUND IN LOUISIANA’S
WHITE-TAILED DEER POPULATION?
CWD has not been detected in Louisiana.
However, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas have
recorded it. The disease has been documented
in 26 states and three Canadian provinces. LDWF
has been monitoring and testing for CWD for
more than 15 years and has checked more than
9,000 deer during that period. The state has yet
to detect a positive case.
WHAT CAUSES CWD AND HOW IS IT
SPREAD?
CWD is caused by prions, which are proteins
normally found in the body that have mutated.
These prions accumulate in the brain and cause
WHAT SIGNS DO DEER WITH CWD
DISPLAY?
Prions can be shed within six months of
infection, but it can take one to two years
for CWD to incubate and exhibit outward
symptoms in the infected animal. Symptoms
include emaciation, lethargy, abnormal
behavior, and loss of bodily functions. Other
signs include excessive salivation, loss of
appetite, progressive weight loss, excessive
thirst and urination, teeth grinding and
drooping ears.
CAN HUMANS CONTRACT CWD?
According to the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) there is no evidence
that CWD can infect humans. However, the
CDC recommends caution in handling venison
in the infected region and that deer be tested
for CWD before consuming. CWD positive
deer should not be consumed by people.
HOW CAN I REPORT A SUSPECT DEER?
You can assist LDWF in disease surveillance
by reporting any deer that exhibits CWD
symptoms. Suspect deer should be reported
to the nearest LDWF regional office.
Please visit the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries website for
more information www.wlf.la.gov

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