Iowa Deer Harvest

Courier file photo

KEOSAUQUA — State officials have confirmed two cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in captive deer at two farms in Van Buren County.

The discovery was made through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s voluntary monitoring program. Participants test farm-raised deer and elk, and must report positive tests to the department.

CWD is not known to spread to humans, pets or other livestock, but it is lethal to deer. The disease is caused by prions in the deer’s brain, which can spread the disease to other deer. Symptoms include excessive salivation, weight loss, listlessness and drooping ears.

The disease was first described in Colorado in 1967 and formally identified in Wyoming in 1978. The first wild deer with the disease were found in Colorado in 1981. Experts are not sure how it spreads.

Both farms at which the disease was found have been quarantined as an investigation continues.

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