The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

January 8, 2013

Chronic wasting disease sees fast rise in Iowa

BLOOMFIELD — News of domesticated deer with chronic wasting disease may become more common. As for the wild deer population, scientists still want assistance.  

Last week, a third deer in Davis County was revealed to have chronic wasting disease. The state said Pine Ridge hunting preserve cooperated with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in putting up a fence-inside-a-fence to keep their deer from going nose-to-nose with wild deer. And whenever a client on their preserve successfully hunts a deer, that animal is given over to the DNR for testing.

Chronic wasting disease causes deer to lose weight, to stumble around or to act extremely sleepy. It eventually results in death of the deer.

DNR deer biologist Tom Litchfield told the Courier Monday there are other illnesses that mimic CWD, but any deer that show such symptoms are tested anyway.

Scientists have said CWD is not a danger to humans, even those who eat deer meat — though they never recommend eating any infected meat.

The initial positive sample was confirmed in July, submitted from a deer shot in December 2011. The second positive test was confirmed Dec. 12, 2012, from a deer harvested Dec. 1.

The fear among state officials and nature enthusiasts is that an infected deer in a pen did or will give the disease to deer in the wilderness.

The third sample came from a male deer harvested Dec. 15 at the Pine Ridge Hunting Preserve in Davis County.

That brings the number of known infected deer in Iowa from zero six months ago to 13 as of this week. All are from enclosed hunting or breeding facilities.

Researchers investigating the phenomena say the infected deer came from a facility in Cerro Gordo County. So did infected deer at a breeding and hunting facility in Pottawattamie County, which has so far had about nine positive deer.

The Cerro Gordo facility turned up a deer positive for the fatal (to deer) disease. Biologists aren’t surprised when animals penned together pass the disease around.  

“The deer [in captivity] are all in close proximity to each other,” said Litchfield, adding that the only deer positive for the disease have been in enclosed facilities. “We’ve been testing since 2002. So far, we’ve tested 42,557.”

Around the three suspect facilities, the DNR has been collecting extra samples by asking hunters to either donate their kill or be certain to properly remove parts of their kill. The only way to test deer and elk is to kill them first.

“This past year we’ve collected over 4,000 [animals], but we’re still looking for more samples within five miles of the Davis County facility,” Litchfield said. “We have not met the desired quota of 300.”

Deer seasons ends Jan. 20. However, if residents see a deer with symptoms anywhere in the state, at any time, they should contact the DNR.

The other thing residents can do, scientists advise, is help keep the potential for disease low in the wild. Between deer, nose-to-nose contact and social grooming are two easy ways to transmit CWD.

But those “salt blocks” some nature lovers put out for deer can speed up the transfer of CWD. An infected deer licks the salt block, followed a while later by a healthy deer. The healthy deer licks up the germs and becomes infected. Every deer enjoying that salt block could end up infected.

Dumping an infected carcass improperly can also spread the disease more quickly, officials cautioned.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Bill OK'd for data recovery OTTUMWA — Almost a month ago, the city’s Engineering Department’s server failed. After receiving and installing the necessary parts, attempts to restart the server failed, resulting in a drive being shipped to Data Recovery Services in St. Louis in h

    July 21, 2014

  • Man killed in Wapello County BLOOMFIELD — A man was discovered dead Monday of a gunshot wound in rural Wapello County. However, no further danger related to the shooting is expected. Authorities aren't giving full details of the incident, but a press release said that at 1:21 a.

    July 21, 2014

  • Forensic scientist: Residue doesn't determine who fired gun DAVENPORT — A forensic scientist who testified today in the trial of a Wapello County man accused of murdering his wife said that gun residue should be collected if possible. Seth Techel, 23, is on trial in Scott County, Davenport. He faces charges o

    July 21, 2014

  • Welding academy at Cardinal becomes reality ELDON — Many high school seniors find themselves making the decision to pursue college coursework or enter the work force upon graduation. A new program at Cardinal High School (CHS) eliminates this decision by offering courses that will allow studen

    July 21, 2014

  • 0722 stick horse color photo -L -T -M 4-H Expo encourages creatitivy OTTUMWA — Typically during the 4-H Expo, horses are kept at the horse arena in Ottumwa Park, but Saturday kids galloped around Bridge View Center on homemade stick horses. Children at the expo spent Saturday morning creating their own cowboy vest and

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Water requires extra caution OTTUMWA — Two area drowning deaths in two weeks have authorities focused on the topic of water safety. The Ottumwa Fire Department's Master Firefighter Bill Keith has trained with watercraft and performed multiple river rescues. This week, he said, h

    July 16, 2014

  • Plea settles kidnapping case OTTUMWA — An Ottumwa man originally charged with kidnapping will not serve prison time after a plea bargain to a lesser charge. Adem Anota received a sentence of one year in jail with credit for time served and the balance suspended after pleading gu

    July 16, 2014

  • Gunshot victim found dead BLOOMFIELD — A man was found dead of a gunshot wound in rural Wapello County. However, no further danger related to the shooting is expected. Though authorities aren't giving full details of the incident, a press release said at 1:21 a.m. Monday the

    July 21, 2014

  • NEST program educates parents OTTUMWA — With any new job, you typically go through a training period that prepares you for the future. The Wapello County Iowa State Extension Office is offering both first-time and experienced parents helpful training through its NEST program. NES

    July 21, 2014

  • 0722 OTT hottest day map Heat arrives, but won't linger OTTUMWA — As hot as Monday and Tuesday seem, it’s not really a surprise. This is July, after all. A heat advisory went into effect at noon Monday and will remain in effect until 7 p.m. Tuesday. Forecasters think a front Tuesday night will bring much

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook