Chronic wasting disease positively identified in three Nebraska hunting units.
In November 2015, three deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease in Boone, Nance, and Harlan counties, all located in the eastern half of Nebraska.
A total of 759 deer were tested in three deer management units according to the Nebraska Game and Parks. The three units consisted of the Missouri, Elkhorn, and Loop East units, and this was the first extensive test in 2008.
Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, has been present in Nebraska since 2000, and was first discovered in the western part of the state. Since then, less than 300 deer have tested positive for the disease out of the nearly 49,000 tested. This disease has been positively identified in 30 Nebraska counties, and 20 other states.
CWD is a brain disease that is believed to be transmitted between deer through bodily fluids. Deer with the disease are typically emaciated, lethargic, and generally starve to death. This disease is thought to be deer and elk specific, and no CWD cases have ever been verified in humans.
While CWD is not believed to be a threat to humans, it is recommended hunters try and handle the animal as little as possible, and people are advised not to eat meat from a deer with CWD.
As with most game processing chores, the best precaution you can take is to wear rubber gloves while handling your animal. Additionally, the prions believed to be responsible for the disease are mostly found present in the brain and spinal cord.
Avoid contact as much as possible with these areas of the carcass while butchering and take them to a landfill rather than leave them in the field.
Most states offer information about CWD and some will test your deer if you beleive it may be infected with the disease.