The number of CWD-positive cases in Arkansas is increasing at an alarming rate.
Arkansas is seeing a fast spread of chronic wasting disease or CWD. The number of CWD-positive cases in deer and elk has now climbed to 50 after 27 more positive cases were confirmed from testing in Newton County.
It is troubling news and a big jump in the number of cases for Arkansas as the count was reported at 19 last week. The first case of the deadly neurological disease in Arkansas was discovered in an elk early last month. And more positive results could be incoming.
The AGFC is working on a second round of testing set to go through May 20. The public can help by calling and reporting any sick animals. They are also asking them report dead deer or elk, especially if they are road kills.
Some of the new positive results have come from animals outside the original zone where officials took samples. "We will need the public's help more than ever for this next phase of testing," AGFC deer program coordinator Cory Gray told THV11 News.
Testing of road killed animals should help speed up the process as they attempt to determine how widespread the disease is. "Samples from road kills have a greater chance of testing positive than random samples from healthy animals," Gray told THV11 News. "The presence of CWD can only be determined within a day or two of the animal's death, so we need the public to call in and report any road-killed deer as soon as they see it.
In the meantime, officials are planning weekly public meetings in Jasper at Carroll Electric Cooperative, 511 Court St. The first of those meetings is planned for April 7 at 11 a.m.
The AGFC is also still waiting on results from the last batch of 110 samples. There were samples from both deer and elk sent to two different laboratories. Some early results have already shown at least three elk were CWD positive.
"The samples that already have been taken should give us a good indication of the prevalence of CWD in the area," Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's chief Brand Carner said.
You can help the AGFC's fight against CWD by reporting sick or dead animals by calling 800-482-9262.