This is bad news for the Magnolia State.
In Pontotoc County, a 1-1/2-year-old-male deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease in its initial testing. This obviously isn't good and the deer, if confirmed, becomes the second confirmed case of CWD in the state of Mississippi.
The disease is 100-percent fatal in whitetails and there's currently no cure. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks is awaiting final results before taking drastic actions. The sample is being shipped to the National Veterinary Sciences Laboratory in Iowa.
Anybody, especially hunters, who witnesses a deer acting abnormally, appearing sick or experiencing drastic weight loss is encouraged to contact the MDWFP. Hunters are encouraged to submit samples of any and all harvested deer for CWD testing. You can find locations at the MDWFP website.
CWD has existed in the United States for decades in species such as mule deer, whitetail deer and elk, but only recently has it been confirmed as far south as Mississippi. It's been discovered in both captive and free-ranging deer in North America.
The disease itself is caused by a folded prion protein, and the disease attacks the central nervous system, ultimately causing death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends not eating meat from a CWD-infected deer. The World Health Organization stands by that same recommendation.
Though, it hasn't been proven to jump the species barrier to humans there are currently not enough indicators to confidently say it couldn't happen.