Chronic wasting disease confirmed in deer from ninth South Dakota county

Capitol News Bureau

MADISON, S.D. (KELO) — Add Haakon County to the list where chronic wasting disease has been found in South Dakota.

CWD was confirmed Thursday in a deer from there, according to Chad Switzer, wildlife program administrator for the state Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

It is the ninth county of South Dakota’s 66 where CWD has been definitely discovered this year.

Switzer informed the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission about the latest confirmation during his report on the issue Friday.

He said there will be an internal GFP meeting later this month and department officials will meet with State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven and some of his staff January 2.

He agreed to arrange a presentation from state Animal Industry Board officials, including Oedekoven, for the commission.

Switzer expects more counties will be added as endemic areas defined in South Dakota’s CWD management plan. The commission recently adopted CWD rules that restrict handling of deer, elk and related species starting in 2020.

”We were pretty confident we were going to find it in new areas,” Switzer told commissioners, adding that where the disease is or isn’t in South Dakota remains unclear.

“What it means down the road, we really don’t know,” he said. Other states are also puzzled, he said.

The Western Governors Association recently sent a letter to congressional leaders about CWD.

Two firms under state contract to pick up dead animals along South Dakota roads have been sending carcass samples from to a state laboratory, Switzer said, and hunters voluntarily provided samples from about 1,000 deer and elk.

That was more than expected and there were still about 400 left to get through, according to Switzer. “The lab’s doing the best they can,” he said.

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