After a hunter shot a mule deer near Billings, Montana, he discovered what the wildlife officials most feared. The deer was infected with chronic wasting disease, an extremely contagious condition. The authorities in the state have always been afraid the disease might spread there, and thought it was inevitable to avoid it.
The first deer in Montana suffering from chronic wasting disease
Near the end of October, a hunter killed a male mule deer close to the Pryor Mountains. He collected a lymph node sample and sent it for testing to the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks agency. Unfortunately, the results weren’t encouraging at all, as the sample tested positive for chronic wasting disease.
This disease affects the neurons and the brain, and is fatal in most of the cases. Such a confirmation scared the wildlife officials, who have been fearing that the disease might soon spread to their areas. It rarely happens that the test results should indicate false positives when it comes to this disease, so they are now expecting an epidemic.
The Montana authorities are getting ready for all kinds of protective measures against the disease
Now, the representatives of the agency, together with the local authorities, are putting up a plan to deal with the disease. It can be really dangerous for the populations of moose, elk, and deer, as it threatens to significantly reduce their numbers. The risk of infection doesn’t apply to humans or to other animals, but it might be dangerous for them to consume the meat of an animal that died of chronic wasting disease.
The condition has already affected 20 states, and has just got arrived at the border with Montana, in Wyoming and Dakota. Actually, the infected deer killed in Montana was shot pretty close to the borders, and it could have migrated from Wyoming. Now, the authorities are afraid this specimen might have brought the disease in their state.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons