JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Initial tests show that a lethal and highly infectious deer ailment called chronic wasting disease may have spread to two more north Mississippi counties, the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks said last week.
Samples that hunters submitted from bucks in Tippah and Alcorn counties are considered “suspect positive” through initial testing. The samples will be sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, for confirmation.
These are the first apparent positive detections of chronic wasting disease for those two counties, the department said.
Alabama’s Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries quickly took note.
“These are the first suspected CWD-positive cases in white-tailed deer within 25 miles of the Alabama state line,” the division noted in a news release. It said Alabama has tested more than 11,000 deer since 2002, and none was infected.
Testing in Alabama has been more intense since deer in Mississippi and Tennessee tested positive for chronic wasting disease in 2018, the statement said.
The disease is spread by malformed proteins called prions, like those that cause mad cow disease and the related human infection called Creutzfelt-Jacob disease.
Since February 2018, 78 white-tailed deer have been detected with chronic wasting disease in eight Mississippi counties.