First cases of chronic wasting disease detected in Idaho

LUCILE, Idaho– Chronic wasting disease has been detected in Idaho for the first time ever.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game said two mule deer bucks harvested in the Slate Creek drainage near Lucile in October tested positive for the deadly neurological disease.

Samples from the mule deer were tested at the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Lab. Then the samples were verified by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Iowa.

Wildlife experts in Idaho said chronic wasting disease has been reported across the western United States for more than 40 years. However, this is the first time animals in the Gem State have tested positive.

The department said chronic wasting disease is a threat to big game animals and will then hurt hunting opportunities for hunters. That’s why they set up checking stations for hunters across the state.

Testing for it isn’t anything new. Every year, Idaho Fish and Game samples 150 to 300 deer. They test them by cutting out the lymph nodes in the deer.

The disease is spread through a lot of ways, including deer-to-deer. Ellstrom says it’s not transmittable to humans.

Still, hunters should not eat meat from animals that have been infected with chronic wasting disease.

It takes about four to six weeks for samples to come back, and if chronic wasting disease is found in a hunter’s animal, the department will reach out immediately with what to do. Ellstrom says they can help hunters dispose of meat if needed.

Here are the check stations in North Idaho:

  • Priest River: Along state highway 57
  • St. Maries: South on state highway 3
  • Bonners Ferry: 3-mile weigh station

More information can be found here.

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