WILDLIFE

26 cases of chronic wasting disease found in Utah since July

Dec 1, 2023, 3:00 PM

two buck deer shown, deer elk and moose are at risk for chronic wasting disease in utah...

Two buck deer in northern Utah. (Jim Shuler via Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

(Jim Shuler via Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

PAYSON, Utah — A disease that hits deer and other big game appears to be spreading to more parts of Utah. On Thursday, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources confirmed 26 positive cases of chronic wasting disease since July of this year.

The DWR said in a press release that it first detected CWD in Utah in 2002. Those cases were in mule deer in northeastern Utah.

Now, the DWR said it’s detected the disease in Payson for the first time. Biologists found other cases in Moab and North Salt Lake. But, the DWR said it knows these areas are hotspots for CWD.

“We are continuing to do extensive monitoring and trying different hunting strategies to stay on top of the disease and its prevalence in the state,” wrote DWR State Wildlife Veterinarian Ginger Stout in the press release.

The disease attacks the nervous system and is similar to “mad cow disease.” Infected animals develop brain lesions, become emaciated, appear listless and have droopy ears.

The DWR said CWD can affect deer, elk and moose.

Whilst animal-to-human transmission is extremely rare, the DWR recommended not consuming infected animal meat.

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26 cases of chronic wasting disease found in Utah since July