Iowa DNR Concludes 2016 Chronic Wasting Disease Study

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has closed the books on the 2016 chronic wasting disease (CWD) monitoring efforts after collecting 4,879 tissue samples from wild deer across the state. Out of these, 12 tested positive for the disease, with a handful of results pending from several counties. The disease, which first appeared in Iowa in 2013, is caused by a misshapen protein ingested by the deer from the environment. It takes 18 to 36 months for clinical signs to manifest, and it is always fatal. Wildlife biologist, Terry Haindfield, says hunters play an important role in addressing CWD. To help slow the spread, hunters should remove mineral blocks and feeders that concentrate deer and increase spreading chances. They can also provide tissue samples to the DNR for testing and report any sick or emaciated deer. The DNR has identified a goal of collecting 5,000 deer samples each year, with 50 to 500 coming from 14 counties near confirmed CWD, mainly in the eastern portion of the state and now near the Missouri River on Iowa’s western border from Fremont to Woodbury Counties.