Eleven deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Tensas Parish during the 2022-23 hunting season, bringing Louisiana’s total to 12 cases since the discovery of the disease in January of 2022. All 12 positive tests were in Tensas Parish.
A total of 2,370 hunter-harvested deer were tested for CWD in Louisiana during the 2022-23 season. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) discovered the state’s first case of CWD in a hunter-harvested deer in Tensas Parish during the 2021-22 hunting season. LDWF established a CWD Control Area around the index case.
CWD is a neurodegenerative disease of white-tailed deer and other members of the family Cervidae. It is caused by a prion, an infectious, misfolded protein particle, and is 100 percent fatal in affected deer after an indeterminate incubation period. There is no treatment or preventative vaccine for CWD.
CWD is transmitted between deer through saliva, urine, feces, and decomposing infected carcasses. CWD-infected deer may exhibit signs of weight loss and emaciation, salivation, frequent drinking and urination, incoordination, circling, and lack of fear of people.
Although CWD has not been shown to be contagious to humans, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend against human consumption of deer known to be infected with CWD. In addition, it is recommended that people hunting in areas known to harbor CWD-infected deer have their deer tested for the disease prior to consuming the animals.
LDWF will continue to test sick deer and hunter-harvested deer for CWD. LDWF will provide testing of hunter-harvested deer by request, free of charge at this time. To learn more about CWD and complete regulations, go to: https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/cwd
For more information, contact Dr. Jim LaCour, LDWF State Wildlife Veterinarian, at [email protected] or by phone at 225-765-0823.