- SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Reuters)
- A young wild female deer shot by a landowner is Illinois' first case
of chronic wasting disease, a fatal wildlife illness linked to mad cow
disease, state officials said.
- The man shot the doe in Winnebago County, in north-central
Illinois, in late October because it appeared ill, the Illinois Department
of Natural Resources said. Tests on Friday confirmed the diagnosis.
- Illinois has been testing deer and elk for the disease
for the past five years, state officials said. Extensive tests are planned
during Illinois' deer hunting season, which begins on Nov. 22. Samples
will also be taken from deer control programs in northeastern Illinois,
where hunting is not allowed.
- Winnebago County shares a border with the state of Wisconsin,
where about 40 wild deer have been found with the affliction since it first
emerged in the state in February.
- The Wisconsin cases were the first to appear east of
the Mississippi River. The disease has been present in U.S. deer and elk
for decades but until last year was confined mostly to the Rocky Mountain
and Plains states.
- CWD is in the same family of illnesses as bovine spongiform
encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow disease, which can damage brain
and nerve tissue.
- The disease has never been found to infect humans or
cattle, but the World Health Organization has advised against eating venison
or any part of an animal showing symptoms.
- CWD has been found in wild deer in Wyoming, Colorado,
South Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan
- It has also been found in farmed elk in Minnesota, Colorado,
South Dakota, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Montana, Saskatchewan and Alberta,
- Wisconsin launched a series of hunts this summer in an
effort to eradicate the deer population in a 400-square-mile zone in the
southern part of the state, where all of its CWD-positive deer have been