The Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports 36 positive chronic wasting disease (CWD) tests from some 5,000 deer samples this hunting season.
The DNR’s Tyler Harms, who oversees the deer management program, says two new counties were added to the list of counties in which CWD has been detected in the wild. Greene County in central Iowa and Fremont County in southwest Iowa brings the total number of counties to 12.
CWD was first detected in Iowa in 2013 with 72 cases in Allamakee County in northeast Iowa, the most cases in any one county in any year since. The second most were 29 CWD cases in neighboring Clayton County in 2016. 10 cases were detected in Winneshiek County and two in Fayette County in 2019.
Harms says, overall for the state, there’s been a 2% prevalence rate of CWD out of the 5000 samples, which is about what the DNR expected. He adds that the goal is to keep that prevalence as low as possible.
Harms encourages deer hunters to keep hunting and keep submitting samples for testing and to properly dispose of the deer carcasses to help prevent the spread of the disease. He adds that the general public can also help by not putting out feed for deer, noting that CWD is spread via direct contact between individual animals.