The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has confirmed the first ever case of Chronic Wasting Disease in Star Valley.
Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, is a fatal brain disease that affects deer, elk and moose. The disease has mostly been reported in southeastern Wyoming, particularly in Albany and Laramie counties, and cases of CWD are relatively rare west of the continental divide. Two other infected deer were also found near Cody this past April.
Scott Edberg of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department said the department isn't sure how the disease reached Star Valley, but the department plans to monitor the deer population there as a precaution.
"It's a very tough disease to control. So our initial plan is to get an idea, keep our eyes on them, and closely monitor the deer in the area where this one was found and see if there are any other deer that are showing the same symptoms," Edberg said.
Animals with the disease often show symptoms like salivating excessively, not running away from humans, having a rough coat and appearing malnourished. There were 98 confirmed cases of CWD in Wyoming last year.
Edberg said it is crucial to control CWD in order to maintain a healthy deer and elk population for hunting in Wyoming, which generates revenue for the state through the sale of permits.
"I think the bottom-line is everyone just wants a robust and healthy deer population, and anything that impacts that is a concern to the department and people who love wildlife," Edberg said.
While there is no evidence of CWD being transmitted to humans, Edberg advised people not to consume meat from animals that have tested positive for the disease.