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Deer checked for disease

Platte County was the first of 30 randomly chosen counties in Missouri to test deer for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) by the Missouri Conservation Department.

The Conservation Department collected 200 deer heads that were donated by hunters who brought their deer to a check station in Platte City on Saturday and Sunday. Hunters were asked to voluntarily donate the heads of their deer for later testing by a federally approved laboratory. Hunters were able to keep the antlers from bucks.

Chronic Wasting Disease belongs to a class of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSFs). Scrapie, which affects sheep and has been documented since the 1700s, is probably the most familiar of these diseases. Like other TSEs, CWD destroys nerve cells. The brain becomes sponge-like over time as nerve cells are affected. The disease is presumed to be fatal to deer and elk. At this time, this disease is not infectious to humans and no cases of the disease have been found in Missouri.

Areas where CWD has been found are Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

The department is hoping to collect over 6,000 deer heads in Missouri to monitor the disease, which is rare and serious. More information can be found by visiting www.conservation.state.mo.us.