Wasting disease spreading in northern Illinois

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has turned up in Ogle County for the first time. The development was reported by the Belleville News-Democrat in an article last week.

The newspaper quoted Paul Shelton, manager of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Wildlife Program. Shelton said: “The Department of Natural Resources continues intensive sampling for CWD as part of our effort to slow the spread of the disease in our wild deer herd. We appreciate the support of hunters who continue to voluntarily allow us to take tissue samples from their deer to test for the disease. The sampling, testing and surveillance is extremely important as we deal with CWD.”

Shelton went on to say: “We were somewhat surprised to find these two cases in Ogle County because no cases had been detected there previously, despite very intensive sampling. We’ve sampled nearly 2,000 deer in Ogle County since 2003, and these are the only two cases we have found there to date.”

CWD was previously reported in Winnebago, Boone, McHenry and northern DeKalb counties. The DNR has confirmed 53 cases in Boone County since it began checking; Winnebago, 42 cases; McHenry, nine cases; DeKalb, six cases; and Ogle, two cases.

Shelton said the DNR is waiting for the results of tests on about 350 additional samples from Ogle County. State biologists have taken samples from more than 2,500 deer in seven northern Illinois counties during the 2005-06 firearm and archery seasons as well as from suspect animals reported to them.

This past weekend, hunters in Winnebago, Boone, McHenry and part of DeKalb counties took part in a CWD deer season in an effort to reduce deer densities and the spread of the disease. Check stations were manned in the four counties, and hunters who submitted samples for testing were given an additional permit valid for the rest of the season.

CWD first turned up in Illinois in November 2002 and, as of now, the state has detected 112 positive cases. The state stepped up its surveillance effort in 2002 after CWD was found in Wisconsin.

The disease is not believed to affect humans or livestock, but it is known to spread fairly rapidly from animal to animal among deer and elk. The disease affects the animal’s brain, causing emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of coordination and finally, death.

Further information on this situation is available at the DNR’s Web site: http://dnr.state.il.US/cwd.

From the Feb. 1-7, 2006, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!