(WAFB) - Wildlife officials are hoping to slow the spread of a deadly disease killing deer from states neighboring Louisiana, including Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas.
Using a new online form, hunters can identify where they’ve harvested a deer and learn how to submit tissue from the animal to the nearest Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Field Office. Those samples will be tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD), a neurodegenerative disease found in most deer species, including Louisiana’s native white-tailed deer.
“It is infectious, always fatal, and there is no treatment. It’s part of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and is similar to BSE (mad cow disease) in cattle and scrapie in sheep,” wrote an LDWF spokesperson. “These diseases cause irreversible damage to brain tissue, which leads to excessive salivation, neurological symptoms, emaciation, and death of the animal.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not found evidence that CWD has infected humans. However, the consensus among wildlife officials is CWD positive deer should not be consumed by people.
CWD has not been detected in any of the 9,000 plus deer harvested in Louisiana that have been tested during the last 15 years. LDWF officials are hoping to keep it that way.
“This test will help to give our deer hunters peace of mind,’’ said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet. “But it will also be another tool we can use for monitoring CWD, as we work to keep CWD from entering our state. The more testing that is done the better.’’
The test costs about $37.50 which users can pay through the online application using any major credit card.