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Chronic wasting disease in Arkansas

A killer in the herds

Arkansas emerged this spring as America’s hot spot for chronic wasting disease, a fatal infection that strikes mostly deer and elk.

The brain-wasting illness spreads animal to animal.

It also contaminates plants and soil through victims’ body fluids. Even years later, healthy animals that graze on the tainted ground can sicken and die.

So far, science has found no treatment or vaccine for it, no effective cleanup for the soil, no method to stop the disease’s spread.


New rules aim: To limit spread

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission plans to vote on new rules June 24 aimed at controlling the spread of chronic wasting disease in the state.

The primary goal is containing the disease within the area of its highest concentration: Newton County and parts of Boone County, said Ricky Chastain, assistant deputy director for the commission.

“We want to control dispersal, and minimizing any exposure to contaminated specimens is important,” Chastain said.


What they're saying about CWD

Although scientists haven’t seen a human case of CWD, that “may not mean 100 percent there’s no case. It may mean we just didn’t see it. I would urge more caution.”

Qingzhong Kong, associate professor and CWD researcher, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

“If you eat tacos, spaghetti or chili at our house, it’s always been deer meat and will continue to be.” CWD is “always going to be on my mind now, but I don’t plan on changing anything.”

Tim Griffis, Lonoke, medical technician and hunter



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CWD rate exceeds acceptable threshold in north Arkansas

More chronic wasting disease cases found in state

ARKANSAS SPORTSMAN: CWD fallout awaits hunters

19 more animals in state test positive for chronic wasting disease

3rd case of CWD identified

Wasting disease found in state deer