A deadly deer disease has now found its way to Dubuque County.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources announced Friday that a stag that was beaten and killed about 2.5 miles outside of Dubuque had recently tested positive for chronically wasted diseases. The deer-specific, ever-deadly neurological disease leads to emaciation, abnormal behavior and loss of body functions.
It's the first time that the disease has been confirmed in the county.
Thirteen other deer – eight in Allamakee County, four in Clayton County and one in Wayne County – killed in the fall, also tested positive. Two more deer in Wayne County are suspected of having CWD, but there are no test results yet.
"That's not surprising," said Terry Haindfield, CWD coordinator of the Iowa DNR. "The problem was not the number of deer we reported. You are in new locations. "
Although there is no clear evidence that CWD can spread to humans, the Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention advises people not to eat meat from infected animals.
The DNR reported that in Iowa harvested more than 6,800 tissue samples from deer season 201
"Hunters do an excellent job collecting deer and deliver samples to our priority areas where the disease had previously been confirmed, "Todd Bishop, head of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Bureau, said in a statement," We want to slow things down as best we can while keeping the Hunt for high quality deer. We hope that science can offer some solutions on the road. "
The deer, which showed a positive result in Dubuque County, was located in the US near US 52 2.5 miles south of Dubuque.
Haindfield said it was impossible to know where the deer came from, but he speculates that he crossed the Mississippi River from Wisconsin.
"That seems to me to be the most likely story," he said but no way that we will actually know. "
While the district of Dubuque was only the fourth district in Iowa to have a CWD-positive stag, such animals were confirmed in 55 Wisconsin counties, including all southwestern ones State officials have identified the counties of Iowa and Dane as one of two areas in the state with the highest concentration of such deer, for example, Iowa County had approximately 250 deer trials in 2017.  An Illinois DNR report released in October found that CWD is "well-established" in Jo Daviess and Stephenson circles and is "seemingly deteriorating". [19659002IndependentbytheDubuqueCounty-HirschHaindfieldtheIowaDNRbecommendedtoobservetheirpublicationtogetherthePeostaapublicpublicationinordertocontinuethediseaseandHaindfieldstheDDNRisprobablyincreasedthetestingeffortsinaplatforminfeedinginfectedhirsts
CWD is also spreading in Clayton County. Officials established a CWD management zone northwest of Elkader after the county's first deer tested positive in 2016. Three of the recently tested deer were found in this zone, but the other was a mile outside, Haindfield said.
While state officials are working to combat the spread of the disease, Haindfield said that more deer with CWD are likely to be found in Dubuque County.
"If you find one, you usually find more," he said. "We just have to try to spread it further."
Mike Laugesen, a resident of Dubuque County and longtime hunter, said Friday he was not surprised that CWD had entered the county.
"It has been so long in the north, it seemed like it would come down here sometime," said Laugesen.
Laugesen said he was not sure he would have the deer he shot, but he worried about its impact on the animals.
"You can tell if a deer has it," said Laugesen. "It will have a health impact on the local population, which is a pity."
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