Chronic wasting disease discovered in 3 more West River counties

(photo by Wade J. Asher/courtesy Cassia County Sheriff's Office)

PIERRE, S.D. (KEVN/KOTA TV) - Chronic wasting disease has recently been confirmed in three West River counties – Butte, Corson and Haakon.

The disease was found in samples from hunters. A male white-tail deer from both Butte and Corson had CWD; and two male mule deer from Haakon County reportedly had CWD.

This brings the number of counties with CWD, all West River, to 12. Eight of the counties were just added last year. South Dakota's CWD endemic counties include: Bennett, Butte, Corson, Custer, Fall River, Haakon, Harding, Jackson, Meade, Lawrence, Pennington and Tripp.

“We’ve learned that CWD is not a disease just restricted to the Black Hills and surrounding area and this definitely creates some challenges moving forward,” said GFP wildlife program administrator Chad Switzer.

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal brain disease of deer, elk, and moose caused by an abnormal protein called a prion. Animals in the later stages of infection with CWD may show progressive loss of weight and body condition, behavioral changes, excessive salivation, loss of muscle control and eventual death.

Chronic wasting disease is always fatal for the afflicted animal. CWD poses serious problems for wildlife managers, and the implications of long-term management for free-ranging deer and elk is unknown.

The Game, Fish and Parks Commission recently created regulations for the transportation and disposal of deer and elk carcasses from other states and from hunting units within South Dakota’s confirmed CWD areas.

For more information on CWD, visit gfp.sd.gov/chronic-wasting-disease or contact your local GFP office.