cases bring to 30 the total number of confirmed cases of the disease
found in the state since November 2002 when the first positive was
intensive surveillance effort has been underway this season and
last,” Director Brunsvold said. “Hunter cooperation has been
terrific and has allowed us to effectively track CWD in Illinois. In
addition, I want to commend the staff members at the Department of
Agriculture who are conducted the testing. Their professionalism has
been a great asset during this effort.”
the nine new cases of CWD was detected in a deer harvested by a
hunter near Kirkland in northwest DeKalb County. The other recent
cases of CWD were found in deer taken by hunters in Boone and
30 cases of CWD confirmed in Illinois to date, six were from eastern
Winnebago County, 21 from Boone County, two from McHenry County, and
the other is the recent DeKalb County case. Before the 2003 hunting
season, the distribution of the disease appeared to be confined to
an area northeast of Rockford and one in McHenry County, but the
recent finds indicate that isolated cases are turning up over a
slightly wider area.
current distribution of chronic wasting disease in Illinois consists
primarily of a core area northeast of Rockford in which the disease
is most common, with scattered cases occurring infrequently at
distances up to about 20 miles around it,” said IDNR Forest Wildlife
Program manager Paul Shelton. “In addition, we had the two cases
near Woodstock in McHenry County in 2002, but have yet to find any
others so far this year.”
said that it is unknown whether these new findings are the result of
recent movements of infected deer, or if the disease has been
present in those outlying locations for some time at very low levels
which are difficult to identify through surveillance.
The IDNR this fall collected tissue samples from more than 4,000
deer taken by hunters in 36 counties during the seven-day firearm
season. A few hundred samples also were collected from deer
harvested by archery hunters in northern Illinois in October and
November. All samples collected are submitted for testing at
Illinois Department of Agriculture labs in Centralia and Galesburg.
Samples taken from northern Illinois counties during the second
season, and from most southern Illinois counties during the first
season, have yet to be completed.
Based on preliminary figures, deer hunters in Illinois harvested a
record total of nearly 104,000 deer during the seven-day firearm
hunting season Nov. 21-23 and Dec. 4-7. Archery hunting continues
statewide through Jan. 15.
"We want to again thank hunters in Illinois for their support of our
CWD surveillance effort, which is working well in identifying areas
where chronic wasting disease is present,” said Shelton. “Knowing
where the disease is and how many cases we have is essential in
developing our strategy for battling CWD in the Illinois deer herd.”
[to top of second column
in this article]
While testing of samples collected this fall continues, IDNR
biologists this winter will be involved in additional CWD management
and surveillance. In parts of those counties from which CWD has been
identified, trained IDNR and USDA sharpshooters will be used to
collect additional samples and to reduce the size of localized deer
populations known to be infected. This approach is used to remove
potentially sick animals from the landscape and hinder the spread or
establishment of the disease, while providing significant disease
information on a more local scale.
While not contagious to humans or livestock, CWD is known to spread
from animal to animal among deer and elk. The disease affects the
brains of infected animals, causing them to become emaciated,
display abnormal behavior, lose coordination and eventually die.
Director Brunsvold noted the DNR has taken a number of steps to
reduce the deer population throughout Illinois and provide
additional hunting opportunity to sportsmen. Thousands of additional
permits were made available around the state, for both the regular
firearm season and the muzzleloader season. Hunters also were
allowed to use handguns during the firearm season, a change welcomed
by Illinois sportsmen.
In addition, Governor Rod Blagojevich this year signed legislation
(HB2918) giving the Deparment of Natural Resources another tool to
combat CWD or other diseases found in the deer herd. The new law
allows DNR to set up special harvest periods, if deemed necessary,
to reduce the deer population as part of a disease-control strategy.
In keeping with IDNR’s adaptive approach to CWD management,
biologists will examine all information gathered this fall and
winter before determining whether to implement any special seasons
or making recommendations about possible changes for next year.
Illinois expanded its chronic wasting disease surveillance effort in
2002 following the discovery of CWD in neighboring Wisconsin. For
updated information about chronic wasting disease, check the IDNR
web site at: http://dnr.state.il.us/cwd/index.htm. A web application
that allows participating hunters to check the status of test
results for deer sampled during the firearm deer season is available
at that site.