By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
Researchers at the University of Missouri have found chronic wasting disease – a fatal illness found in deer that affects their neurological system and causes chronic weight loss – has spread fivefold among Kansas counties, raising concerns about the spread of the disease and the importance of educating hunters about it.
“In 2009, there were only six Kansas counties with confirmed positive cases of chronic wasting disease, and by 2020, there were 32 Kansas counties with confirmed positive cases,” said Zoe Koestel, a doctoral student at MU. “There has definitely been an increase in the prevalence of this disease, so our surveillance research will help better track the spread of the disease and possibly identify clusters or patterns, which can inform management efforts.”
Koestel works with Ram Raghavan, a professor in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine and School of Health Professions, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, to test samples of hunted deer at MU’s Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. After analyzing more than 1,900 samples from last year’s deer hunting season, they identified chronic wasting disease in seven eastern Kansas counties where the disease was previously undetected.
The project involves collaborating with taxidermists, wildlife biologists, game wardens and individual hunters, who collect and send the lymph nodes of their hunted deer to the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, where the samples are tested for chronic wasting disease.
Read more at MU College of Veterinary Medicine
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