Tennessee deer tests positive for deadly brain disease

A deadly deer disease has been detected in West Tennessee. / Source: (WVLT)

COVINGTON, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said deer have tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in Tipton, County.

CWD is a contagious neurological disease that affects deer, elk and moose according to CWD Info.org.

The disease is in the same family as mad cow disease.

“We are sampling for CWD heavily in and around Unit CWD and, as a result, expect to find many more positive deer this season, as compared to the 186 found at the end of last deer season,” said Chuck Yoest CWD coordinator for the TWRA. “TWRA also expects more of the four remaining high-risk counties to be reclassified to positive once the agency has a more complete understanding of CWD. This is not due to matters quickly getting worse. It is due to the greater focus and increased sampling. We encourage people to visit CWDinTennessee.com to know the latest, as new information will available as deer season continues.”

The sample came from a 3.5-year-old doe that appeared sick. The sampling location was approximately eight miles from the Arkansas border. Tipton County was the last of eight southwestern Tennessee counties added to the newly-created Unit CWD.

According to the CDC, to be as safe as possible and decrease their potential risk of exposure to CWD, hunters should take the following steps when hunting in areas with CWD:

- Do not shoot, handle or eat meat from deer and elk that look sick or are acting strangely or are found dead (road-kill).

When field-dressing a deer:
- Wear latex or rubber gloves when dressing the animal or handling the meat.
- Minimize how much you handle the organs of the animal, particularly the brain or spinal cord tissues.
- Do not use household knives or other kitchen utensils for field dressing.
- Check state wildlife and public health guidance to see whether testing of animals is recommended or required. Recommendations vary by state, but information about testing is available from many state wildlife agencies.
- Strongly consider having the deer or elk tested for CWD before you eat the meat.

If you have your deer or elk commercially processed, consider asking that your animal be processed individually to avoid mixing meat from multiple animals.

If your animal tests positive for CWD, do not eat meat from that animal.

However, the CDC says there have been no reports of CWD in humans.

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