WDFW expands chronic wasting disease testing

Chronic Wasting Disease
Credit: Idaho Department of Fish and Game

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is expanding its chronic wasting disease surveillance program in eastern Washington.

During this year’s general deer season, WDFW staff will be taking samples from harvested deer and elk at voluntary check stations across Region 1. This includes Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla and Whitman Counties.

CWD is a fatal illness that affects deer, elk, moose and caribou. It is caused by mutated proteins that can contaminate the environment and be transmitted between animals through feces, saliva and urine.

“While disease sampling is voluntary, we encourage hunters to have their deer or elk tested because most animals with CWD appear normal until the end stages of the disease,” said ungulate research scientist Dr. Melia DeVivo. “Without testing, animals infected with CWD could go undetected for months to years, spreading the disease to other animals.”

CWD has not been detected in Washington, but it has been detected in 30 states, including Idaho.

“We know that eastern Washington is a popular place for deer hunting, with hunters from all over the state coming here,” DeVivo said. “With Idaho being just across the border from where many people hunt, it is important that we test deer and elk to make sure CWD is not spreading to Washington.”

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