Second Montana elk found with Chronic wasting disease

Nov. 23—Chronic wasting disease has been detected in a cow elk killed by a hunter in Hunting District 622, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reported on Wednesday.

This marks the first CWD detection in an elk in northeast Montana and only the second detection in an elk in the state.

However, the cow elk is the second CWD-positive animal detected in HD 622, the first being a mule deer buck that was harvested by a hunter in 2020. FWP has conducted rotating surveillance for CWD throughout the state for several years, and HD 622 is within this year's priority surveillance area.

Also, wildlife health staff with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks detected CWD in a mule deer buck recently harvested from hunting district 405 about 10 miles north of the town of Belt.

This marks the first time CWD has been detected in this hunting district out of more than 100 deer sampled there over the last three years. FWP has conducted rotating surveillance for CWD throughout the state for several years, and HD 405 is within this year's priority surveillance area.

In addition, the agency recently detected chronic wasting disease in a white-tailed deer buck that was harvested by a hunter in hunting district 311.

The deer was harvested about one mile northeast of Cardwell on the south side of Interstate 90. This marks the first CWD detection in hunting district 311. However, the detection site was previously part of hunting district 333 but was added to hunting district 311 during FWP's biennial season setting process last year.

CWD has been detected in hunting district 333 previously. The recent detection near Cardwell is a moderate expansion of the disease's known distribution among white-tailed deer within the Jefferson River watershed.

CWD is a contagious neurological disease that infects deer, elk and moose. It is always fatal, and there is no known cure. It was first detected in Montana's wild herds in 2017. The disease is known to exist in other parts of north-central and northeast Montana, especially north of Highway 2, as well as in other areas of the state.

Hunters play a significant role in CWD management by providing test samples from harvested animals. FWP has provided resources to help hunters collect and submit samples for testing on their own.

In addition, FWP offers several locations around the state where FWP staff will take samples for hunters. These resources and others can be found at fwp.mt.gov/cwd.

CWD is not known to infect humans. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people not eat meat from infected animals and have their harvested animals tested before eating them if they were taken from an area where CWD is known to exist.

For more information on CDC recommendations, please visit go.usa.gov/xAcnc.

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