- Associated Press - Friday, October 24, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - After a rare disease made its way into the Ohio captive deer population, state officials warned hunters about eating deer or elk meat.

Chronic Wasting Disease was recently identified in a deer at World Class Whitetails hunting facility in Holmes County, northeast of Columbus, The Columbus Dispatch reports (http://bit.ly/1sgCdpY ).

The disease is similar to mad-cow disease, but hasn’t been shown to infect humans. It attacks the brain of the infected animal, produces lesions, and eventually kills the animal. Infected deer, elk or moose will lose weight, salivate excessively, and increase drinking and urination. They will generally act abnormally, and may stumble or allow humans to get unusually close.

The state learned earlier this year that 125 deer potentially infected with the disease had been transported from Pennsylvania to hunting facilities across Ohio. Some facilities destroyed the imported animals, but others must remain under quarantine for several years.

Nineteen states have found Chronic Wasting Disease in their wild deer populations. Ohio is the 14th state to identify the disease in its captive population.

Because the infected and potentially infected deer are in captive facilities, officials said they don’t suspect the disease has spread to Ohio’s wild deer population.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says hunters should avoiding eating meat from deer or elk that look sick, or have their meat tested by the state.

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Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com

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