PIERRE, S.D. — Samples obtained from two male, white-tailed deer in Lyman County and one male mule deer in Sully County have confirmed the spread Chronic Wasting Disease.
Hunters who harvest deer from those counties must now follow the new CWD regulations to help reduce the spread.
CWD is a prion disease that affects deer, elk, reindeer, sika deer, and moose. Symptoms can include drastic weight loss (wasting), stumbling, listlessness and other neurologic symptoms, and can take more than a year to develop. It can affect animals of all ages and is fatal, with no treatments or vaccines available. An animal does not necessarily have to display clinical signs or look unhealthy for it to test positive for CWD. In fact, it is possible to harvest a healthy-looking animal that has CWD.
Fourteen counties in South Dakota are now known to be infected with CWD: Bennett, Butte, Corson, Custer, Fall River, Haakon, Harding, Jackson, Meade, Lawrence, Lyman, Pennington, Sully, and Tripp counties. This includes eight counties added during the fall of 2019.
To date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people. However, studies do suggest a risk to non-human primates from consuming meat from CWD-infected animals or coming into contact with their brain or body fluids. These studies raise concern that CWD may pose a risk to humans, so the World Health Organization has recommended keeping the agents of all known prion diseases from entering the human food chain since 1997.
Call South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks at 605-394-2391 (Rapid City), 605-773-3387 (Pierre), or the Animal Industry Board at 605-773-3321 (Pierre) if you suspect a deer or elk has CWD.