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Chronic wasting disease response plan triggered in Kentucky

A white tailed deer
A white tailed deer(Gregory Johnston | WSAW)
Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 7:19 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WXIX) - Kentucky is activating its response plan for chronic wasting disease after a case of the fatal neurological disease was reported in an abutting state.

CWD was recently detected in a Tennessee deer fewer than 10 miles from Kentucky’s border in Henry County, which is southwest of Murray.

Because deer are highly mobile, any case found within 30 miles of Kentucky’s border automatically triggers the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife to activate the response plan.

CWD affects white-tailed deer and other similar species of cervid such as mule deer, elk and moose. Its symptoms include drastic weight loss (wasting), stumbling, listlessness and other neurologic symptoms.

The disease is fatal, and there is no known treatment or vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

It can be spread from cervids both alive and dead.

>> First confirmed case of chronic wasting disease found in wild Ohio deer, ODNR says

Kentucky law generally prohibits bringing whole carcasses of deer, elk, moose and caribou into the state to prevent the spread of CWD into Kentucky. The brain and spinal column must be removed.

Motorists who see a whole carcass or intact head of one of these species being transported across the state line into Kentucky should report the sighting immediately by calling 1-800-25-ALERT (1-800-252-5378).

Hunters are urged to alert Kentucky Fish and Wildlife of any sick deer or elk. The department advises hunters never to harvest or handle any animals that appear sick or unhealthy.

The state’s response plan can be found here.

Increased surveillance will take place in Calloway, Fulton, Graves, Hickman and Marshall counties.

Fish and Wildlife will sample a minimum of 298 cervids from the surveillance area to establish 95 percent confidence that CWD does not exist at over 1 percent prevalence in the area.

Baiting and feeding of cervids within the surveillance area will be prohibited.

Movement of captive and free-ranging cervid carcasses and parts from within the surveillance area will be prohibited.

The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission plans to meet at 10 a.m. (EDT) on Friday, Sept. 10 to receive a report on the situation and to discuss implementation of the response plan.

The meeting will be livestreamed on the department’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/FishandWildlifeKY.

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