Chronic wasting disease, a fatal brain condition, has been detected in Texas free-ranging white-tailed deer for the first time, officials with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department announced Wednesday.
First Discovered in Texas in 2012, Chronic wasting disease is commonly found in deer, elk, and moose, according to Steve Lightfoot with TPWD. There is no vaccine or cure.
The white-tailed buck that tested positive for the disease was found in Medina County, Texas - just west San Antonio.
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An executive ordered issued by Texas Parks and Wildlife has portions of Bandera, Medina and Uvalde counties in a chronic wasting disease containment zone. The measure included restrictions on the handling of deer meat and processing in that area. No deer, dead or alive, will be allowed out of the area.
“This emergency action allows us to contain the threat of this disease spreading any further while we collect more information and gather more data,” said T. Dan Friedkin, Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Chairman.
“Not only are these temporary emergency measures necessary and consistent with the state’s planned strategies for CWD management, they are essential for ensuring the protection of the state’s whitetail deer herd and the integrity of our hunting heritage."
Signs of the disease include listlessness, lowering of the head, weight loss, repetitive walking in set patterns, and lack of responsiveness, said Lightfoot.
In 2015, more than a dozen deer were found to have chronic wasting disease at breeder facilities in Medina County. The discovery prompted strict state guidelines in hopes of preventing the disease to spread to the free-ranging deer population.
Texas Parks and Wildlife officials planned to collect more samples from deer at breeding properties as well as roadkill.
Read more about chronic wasting disease ONLINE.