Wildlife health staff with Montana FWP recently detected chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a mule deer buck. The buck was found dead within the city limits of Great Falls in January. This marks the first confirmed case of CWD within the city limits of Great Falls. This discovery has sparked concerns among local residents.
CWD is a contagious neurological disease that infects cervids and it is always fatal. The disease was first detected in Montana’s wild herds in 2017. It is known to exist in other parts of north-central Montana and other areas of the state.
CWD In Montana
FWP has been conducting rotating surveillance for CWD throughout the state for several years, and the city of Great Falls and Hunting District (HD) 405 is within the priority surveillance area for testing. In light of the recent confirmed case of CWD in Great Falls, FWP is asking property owners in the area to avoid feeding deer and other wildlife, as unnatural concentrations of wildlife increase the risk of spreading CWD and other diseases.
It is important to note that CWD is not known to infect humans, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends that people not eat meat from infected animals and have their harvested animals tested before eating them if they were taken from an area where CWD is known to exist.
In conclusion, the recent confirmed case of CWD in Great Falls highlights the need for continued vigilance and monitoring of the disease. By avoiding feeding deer and other wildlife, property owners in the area can help reduce the risk of spreading CWD and other diseases. The CDC’s recommendations for avoiding contaminated meat from infected animals further emphasize the importance of staying informed and taking preventative measures. For more information on CDC recommendations, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/prions/cwd/index.html.
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