Chronic wasting disease found in two deer in Idaho

LEWISTON, Idaho — Idaho wildlife managers say two deer killed in north-central Idaho have tested positive for chronic wasting disease. It’s the first time the contagious and fatal neurological disorder has been detected in the state.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game announced Wednesday that the two mule bucks were killed near Lucille last month, and the hunters submitted the lymph nodes of the animals for testing as part of a voluntary chronic wasting disease monitoring program.

Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, can also infect elk, moose and caribou and has been confirmed in 25 states, The Lewiston Tribune reported.

Toby Boudreau, chief of the Fish and Game’s Wildlife Bureau at Boise, said the two deer were killed about one-quarter mile from each other. He was “very surprised” Idaho’s first positive tests came from an interior region and not from one bordering Montana, Wyoming or Utah — states that have known cases of the disease.

CWD was documented in wild deer in Colorado in 1981 and Wyoming in 1985. Montana’s first detected case of CWD was in 2017.

Symptoms of the disease include excessive salivation, drooping head or ears, tremors, low body weight and unusual behavior — such as showing no fear of humans.

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