Chronic wasting disease (CWD) a fatal neurological disease of deer, elk and moose, has been discovered for a second time in a deer hunt area this fall, bringing the known total of CWD areas in the Big Horn Basin to nine.
A mule deer buck taken on October 15, 2009 in the Spring Creek drainage southeast of Ten Sleep has tested positive for the disease. Deer hunt area 42 is flanked by known positive deer hunt area 30 to the east and deer hunt area 164 to the west. The disease is now known to occur in Big Horn Basin deer hunt areas 37, 41, 42, 46, 120, 122, 125, 127, 164.
After a review of available scientific data, the World Health Organization in December 1999 stated, "There is currently no evidence that CWD in cervidae (deer and elk) is transmitted to humans." In 2004, Dr. Ermias Belay of the Center for Disease Control said, "The lack of evidence of a link between CWD transmission and unusual cases of CJD,(Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a human prion disease) despite several epidemiological investigations, suggest that the risk, if any, of transmission of CWD to humans is low." Nonetheless to avoid risk, both organizations say parts or products from any animal that looks sick and/or tests positive for CWD should not be eaten. (Contact: Dennie Hammer (307) 527-7125)