Chronic wasting disease rattling Iowa officials, hunters

A deer runs through a field which is partially flooded near Anderson, Iowa, this year. AP photo

Iowa game officials and deer hunters are taking extra precautions this season in the wake of an emerging threat of a chronic fatal disease affecting deer.

Posted: Oct 3, 2019 11:16 AM
Updated: Oct 3, 2019 1:14 PM

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Iowa game officials and deer hunters are taking extra precautions this season in the wake of an emerging threat of a chronic fatal disease affecting deer.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has said it plans to collect as many deer samples in northeastern Iowa as it can this hunting season to test for chronic wasting disease after the first case in Dubuque County was confirmed in January, the Telegraph Herald reported Thursday.

Chris Ensminger, wildlife research section supervisor for the department, said officials want to collect at least 250 samples from area in which the diseased deer was killed and at least 250 samples from elsewhere in Dubuque County. Samples also will be collected from surrounding eastern Iowa counties.

“What we’re trying to find out now is the prevalence,” Ensminger said. “Hopefully, we won’t find any more infected animals.”

The disease attacks the brains of deer and elk and is always fatal. No human cases have ever been recorded, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises people to not eat meat from infected animals.

The disease has become increasingly prevalent in parts of the Midwest, including Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“Everybody talks about it,” said Mike Laugesen, who hunts in northeast Dubuque County. “We’re definitely fearful of it.”

Laugesen said many Iowa hunters worry that the disease will become as prevalent in Dubuque County as it is in southwest Wisconsin.

Nearly 400 of the 1,060 deer that tested positive for the disease in Wisconsin from April 2018 to the end of March were in Iowa County in southwest Wisconsin. Other cases came from surrounding Crawford, Grant and Lafayette counties.

The disease also has some meat processors wary of accepting deer.

Dan Wheeler, owner of Dan’s Locker in Earlville, Iowa, said he has limited his processing to deer meat that already has been cut away from the carcass — a step that reduces the risk of disease spread through leftover animal waste. He said he won’t accept any deer that has tested positive for the disease.

“If it is positive, I don’t want that in my plant,” Wheeler said. “It’s just not worth it to have that happen.”

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 593622

Reported Deaths: 7379
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1228171731
Ramsey51446875
Dakota45976452
Anoka41782439
Washington26948283
Stearns22266222
St. Louis17787304
Scott17296124
Wright16082140
Olmsted1325598
Sherburne1173087
Carver1050745
Clay816392
Rice8063107
Blue Earth751541
Crow Wing666290
Kandiyohi656283
Chisago601351
Otter Tail575478
Benton571697
Goodhue478572
Douglas468575
Mower466232
Winona455050
Itasca439156
McLeod424559
Isanti422464
Morrison419660
Nobles408048
Beltrami397059
Steele388715
Polk384868
Becker380953
Lyon361051
Carlton345654
Freeborn342029
Pine329022
Nicollet326243
Brown305440
Mille Lacs305053
Le Sueur292423
Todd282432
Cass273428
Meeker256640
Waseca236322
Martin230732
Roseau209419
Wabasha20613
Hubbard190041
Dodge18513
Renville180343
Redwood174337
Houston171916
Cottonwood165823
Fillmore156510
Wadena155922
Pennington153719
Faribault152419
Chippewa152338
Kanabec144726
Sibley143810
Aitkin135036
Watonwan13289
Rock128319
Jackson121812
Pipestone115926
Yellow Medicine114120
Pope11056
Murray10639
Swift105618
Stevens91411
Marshall88117
Clearwater86916
Koochiching83615
Wilkin81612
Lake81120
Lac qui Parle75322
Big Stone6004
Lincoln5813
Grant5788
Mahnomen5539
Norman5399
Unassigned49293
Kittson48622
Red Lake3977
Traverse3705
Lake of the Woods3253
Cook1640

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 367236

Reported Deaths: 5940
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57666626
Linn20892335
Scott20060241
Black Hawk15824308
Woodbury15138228
Johnson1449183
Dubuque13380208
Dallas1118398
Pottawattamie11132168
Story1062348
Warren577988
Clinton555893
Cerro Gordo540689
Sioux514474
Webster512293
Marshall483075
Muscatine481399
Des Moines458066
Wapello4303122
Buena Vista424840
Jasper419372
Plymouth401280
Lee376055
Marion362875
Jones299057
Henry291937
Carroll285752
Bremer284860
Crawford266240
Boone265034
Benton256655
Washington254050
Dickinson248543
Mahaska230451
Jackson222142
Clay215725
Kossuth215564
Tama209871
Delaware209741
Winneshiek196835
Page192722
Buchanan191432
Cedar190023
Hardin185643
Fayette185141
Wright184737
Hamilton180049
Harrison179673
Clayton169556
Butler165034
Madison162519
Mills162422
Floyd161142
Cherokee158938
Lyon158241
Poweshiek154934
Allamakee151451
Iowa148824
Hancock148434
Winnebago142531
Cass138654
Calhoun138513
Grundy136333
Emmet134240
Jefferson132435
Shelby131137
Sac130419
Union128333
Louisa128149
Appanoose128049
Mitchell126442
Chickasaw124116
Guthrie121530
Franklin120721
Humboldt119126
Palo Alto112823
Howard104622
Montgomery103338
Clarke100224
Unassigned9710
Keokuk96031
Monroe95329
Ida90435
Adair86532
Pocahontas85522
Davis83024
Monona82730
Osceola78716
Greene77710
Lucas77223
Worth7478
Taylor66012
Fremont6229
Decatur6089
Ringgold55824
Van Buren55818
Wayne53923
Audubon51010
Adams3384
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