States, tribe testing for chronic wasting disease

Bismarck, North Dakota (AP) July 2010

Wildlife officials are increasing the monitoring of chronic wasting disease among animals along the North Dakota and South Dakota border.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department says a mule deer killed by a hunter last fall in Sioux County tested positive for the disease, a fatal malady of the nervous system in members of the deer family. It was the first case reported in the state.

Sioux County is near the South Dakota border.

Wildlife officials from the Dakotas and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe will test hunter-harvested deer, elk and moose, road kills and sick-acting animals in the area where the diseased mule deer was killed last year.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe later harvested 20 deer that were tested for chronic wasting disease as a precaution.

Tribal officials say the deer were randomly harvested and didn’t show signs of the illness.

The disease has been found in wild or captive deer and elk populations in 15 other states, mostly in the central U.S., and in two Canadian provinces.

North Dakota has been sampling for the disease since 2002, when awareness of it was heightened by discoveries in several other states.

South Dakota has found more than 130 cases of chronic wasting disease since testing began in 1997.