Spurred by increased hunter submissions for CWD testing of white-tailed deer — including mandatory testing in some areas — Mississippi saw its number of confirmed cases rise to 72. Six more suspected cases awaiting confirmation could raise that number to 78.
Benton County on the Tennessee border remains the epicenter with 49 confirmed cases, including 16 since Jan. 1. That includes deer submitted during the region’s mandatory check dates of Nov. 21-22. The vast majority of Benton cases came from the narrow strip north of U.S. Highway 72 and south of the Tennessee line.
Neighboring Marshall County was the only other county to have CWD tests return positive in January. Marshall County added two more for a total of 18 confirmations.
Out of 82 total counties in the state, only six have returned positive results since the first case was found in 2018 in Issaquena County, which initiated more statewide testing. Issaquena County added a second case in 2019. Panola, Pontotoc and Tallahatchie counties all reported one case in 2019.
Benton and Marshall sit directly across the line from the Tennessee counties of Hardeman and Fayette, which are the epicenter of that state’s hardest-hit and rapidly growing CWD zone. According to the Tennessee wildlife agency’s website, the total number of confirmed positive cases in Hardeman (244) and Fayette (409) was 653 before the 2020-21 season.
Tennessee confirmed its first case is 2018, and the total number is approaching 700.
Hardeman sits just north of Marshall County; Fayette just north of Benton.
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