JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A buck killed in Cole County has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease, which is a characterized by abnormal behavior, dramatic weight loss, stumbling and slobbering.
The Columbia Missourian reports that this marks the first time the fatal illness has appeared outside Missouri's northern containment zone. It is not believed the disease can be transmitted to humans.
The Missouri Department of Conservation announced Tuesday that the deer, which was harvested in Centertown, was one of 14 free-range specimens to test positive for the disease last season. The other deer were found in Macon, Adair, Chariton, Linn, Randolph, and Sullivan counties.
The Missouri River and about 40 miles of mostly rural Boone County separate Centertown from the containment zone's border.
According to the department, the disease spreads through prions, which are abnormal proteins that attack the nervous system of deer, elk and moose. The prions can spread through direct contact between animals, and they can remain dormant in soil and other surfaces.
There is no reliable way to screen live animals because labs need to analyze samples of brain tissue.
The department will review its containment policies, which is a process that is expected to last through the summer. Any new regulations regarding the illness will be pushed back until a few weeks before deer season begins Sept. 15.
The Conservation department has confirmed 35 cases of the disease in Missouri since it was first detected in 2010 at a private hunting reserve in Linn County. About 3,400 deer tissue samples were collected last season, and 330 samples are still waiting to be tested.
Information from: Columbia Missourian, http://www.columbiamissourian.com