- Associated Press - Friday, March 25, 2016

JASPER, Ark. (AP) - Wildlife officials say the prevalence of chronic wasting disease among deer and elk recently killed in northern Arkansas makes it unnecessary to conduct a mass harvest of the animals to determine how far the disease has spread.

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Chief of Wildlife Management Brad Carner said that 19 of 49 sampled deer and elk in a 125,000-acre area around Pruitt and Ponca have tested positive for the disease.

The Harrison Daily Times (https://bit.ly/1Rq1TOF ) reports that officials had planned to harvest about 300 deer and elk to test for the disease because there’s no way to do so on a live animal.

Carner said that the current prevalence rate of 38 percent indicated that the disease has likely been present in the area for 10 years.

“We weren’t expecting to find this many positives, clearly,” Carner said.

Five deer less than a year old tested positive as did nine deer that appeared to be normal and showed no signs of the disease tested positive for it. He said deer can carry the disease for up to five years before showing symptoms.

Meat from animals that test positive for the disease will be destroyed in incinerators at the Pruitt maintenance station. Carner said there’s no evidence that the disease has been passed along to humans by eating meat from a positive animal.

Carner said that although the deer kill will end, officials will continue testing for the disease on animals found dead within a 50-mile buffer area encompassing 16 counties in northwest Arkansas.


Information from: Harrison Daily Times, https://www.harrisondaily.com

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