North Mississippi has had most cases so far
As more and more hunters voluntarily had their deer tested during the 2018-19 hunting season, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks was able to confirm many more cases of Chronic Wasting Disease, as well as identify a new hot spot for the deadly disease.
The MDWFP on March 10 said it had a total of 16 confirmed cases, with a concentration developing in north Mississippi along the Tennessee border. Six CWD-positive deer were found in Marshall County near Holly Springs and five in rural areas of north Benton County.
Both Marshall and Benton border the Tennessee counties of Fayette and Hardeman, which is where the bulk of that state’s 185 confirmed cases of CWD has been found. Its first confirmation was Dec. 14, 2018.
Both states have enacted CWD Response Plans in their respective impacted areas. Mississippi also has an Issaquena CWD Zone in the south Delta where the first case of CWD was confirmed in February 2018.
According to CWD-info.org, CWD is a contagious neurological disease affecting deer, elk and moose. It causes a characteristic spongy degeneration of the brains of infected animals resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and death.
CWD belongs to a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. There are several other variants that affect domestic animals like scrapie, which has been identified in domestic sheep and goats for more than 200 years, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle (also known as “mad cow disease”). Several rare human diseases are also TSEs. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) occurs naturally in about one out of every one million people worldwide.