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Second New Area Of Chronic Wasting Disease Identified This Year

Statewide Chronic Wasting Disease Distribution in Wyoming
Wyoming Game and Fish Department

A case of chronic wasting disease, or CWD, was found in a deer outside Meeteetse. The white-tailed buck was legally harvested by a hunter southwest of the town, and was later sampled by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Testing confirmed the buck positive for CWD.

Scott Edberg, Deputy Chief of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Wildlife Division, said it’s the second new area where the disease has been found in the state so far this year — the other was south of Gillette. But, he said, in years past there have been as many as six or seven new areas.

“This year, it appears, it’s not a fast progression, but in both of these areas it’s not a surprise that they’re positive,” Edberg said.

That’s because previous cases of CWD had been found in bordering areas. 

Chronic Wasting Disease is found in deer, elk, and moose, but it can’t be transmitted to livestock or pronghorn. There is no evidence it can be transmitted to humans, either. Symptoms include lethargy and loss of awareness, and are ultimately fatal. 

Edberg said CWD is a particularly difficult disease to manage because “you can’t cure it, it lives a very long time in the environment.”

He said the department has a CWD team looking at on-the-ground management, research projects, and working with other states to find a solution. Edberg advised hunters to get their harvested animals tested if they were taken in an area with previous CWD cases. A map of those areas can be found on the department’s website

Before Wyoming, Cooper McKim has reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. He's reported breaking news segments and features for several national NPR news programs. Cooper is the host of the limited podcast series Carbon Valley. Cooper studied Environmental Policy and Music. He's an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.
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