Last updated on July 5th, 2023
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced today that Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been detected in a road-killed deer sampled for routine surveillance in Holmes County, Florida, a first for that state.
CWD has not been detected in the state of Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD). The Department is prepared and will work diligently to implement its CWD response protocol if the disease is ever detected in Georgia. WRD has conducted annual surveillance for CWD since 2002.
Chronic Wasting Disease is a fatal neurological disease of deer, elk, and moose caused by infectious proteins called prions. Currently, there are no treatments, and the disease always results in the death of the infected animal.
What does CWD look like in deer? Often, CWD-infected deer look completely normal, which is why transport regulations are so important. Over time, symptoms appear: dramatic weight loss, poor body condition, subtle head tremors may occur, head and ears may be droopy, and, in the last stages, it is not uncommon for the animal to have excessive drooling. If you observe a deer with any of these symptoms, please contact your local WRD Game Management Office (GeorgiaWildlife.com/about/contact#gm).
To date CWD has not been known to be transmissible to humans, but per the Centers for Disease Control website (https://www.cdc.gov/prions/cwd/index.html), known CWD positive deer should not be consumed.
How You Can Help Prevent Spread
- Hunters are advised that live importation of all deer species from other states is prohibited and has been since 2005.
- Georgia hunters that hunt out-of-state may only bring home boned out meat, hides, skulls or skull caps with antlers attached and all soft tissue removed (velvet antlers are okay), jawbones with no soft tissue, elk ivories, and finished taxidermy mounts. All other carcass parts must be left behind.
CWD positive states and locations are Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming as well as Canadian provinces Alberta, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.
For more information, visit the WRD website at GeorgiaWildlife.com/cwd.