NEWTON COUNTY (KFSM) — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has confirmed a third case of chronic wasting disease in Arkansas on Wednesday (March 23).
The disease, which is fatal to deer and elk, was found in a white-tailed deer north of Mt. Sherman at Camp Orr, according to the AGFC. The 4 -year-old female deer was found dead on March 2, and tissue samples taken from her tested positive for CWD.
This is the second deer that has tested positive for CWD, after another deer was found dead in Ponca earlier this month. The first case of CWD was confirmed Feb. 23, from an elk that was hunted near the Buffalo National River in Pruitt.
To determine the prevalence and distribution of the disease in the deer population, the AGFC has been taking samples in an area ranging from five miles west of Ponca to five miles east of Pruitt and five miles across.
The commission will have to sample 300 deer to determine the prevalence and spatial distribution of CWD in the population. Wildlife biologists will also sample elk in the area. As of Wednesday (March 23), they have tested 251 deer and 17 elk.
The sampled animals will be processed at a base camp staffed by AGFC and National Park Service personnel. Meat from the dear that don’t test positive for CWD will be given to landowners where the deer were harvested or to Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry. Since only unhealthy elk will be harvested, meat from those animals will not be consumed. Everything that is not packaged for consumption will be incinerated.
The public can report sick deer and elk by calling 800-482-9262, 24 hours a day.
Although there are no confirmed cases of CWD transmission from cervids to humans or to livestock, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the Arkansas Department of Health recommend that people not consume meat from animals known to be infected with CWD.
Biologists don’t know how the disease reached northern Arkansas at this point. The AGFC has taken several steps to prevent the disease from entering the state.