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More probable chronic wasting disease cases

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks officials today announced six new suspected chronic wasting disease cases in western Kansas deer. More may be found in the coming weeks.

Mike Miller, information chief, said the department is planning on testing tissue taken from about 2,300 deer this fall and winter. Most were killed by hunters. Samples are being tested from all parts of Kansas.

So far about one-third of the tissue taken from those deer have been tested. Miller said the six that tested positive at a K-State lab have been sent to Iowa to be verified by federal authorities.

Chronic wasting disease is 100 percent fatal in deer, elk and moose. The disease has not been documented within humans or livestock.

It was first identified in the 1960s along the Wyoming/Colorado border. Within the past 15 years it’s spread to about a dozen states and two Canadian provinces. Most Rocky Mountain and Great Plains states have the disease. It has been found as far east as New York and West Virginia.

Kansas’ first case in a wild deer was in the extreme northwest corner of the state in 2005. Three more deer tested positive after the 2007 seasons and ten following the 2008 seasons.

Each year the disease has progressed a little more to the south and east. It appears it’s entered Thomas and Graham counties this year.

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