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DuPage deer found with chronic wasting disease

Updated: February 17, 2013 6:35AM

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to further test for chronic wasting disease after a deer was found to have the illness in the district’s Mallard Lake Forest Preserve next to Hanover Park.

“There is no threat to the public’s health or safety,” said the Forest Preserve District’s ecologist Brian Kraskiewicz. “However, we’ll be working with the IDNR to test additional deer to determine if this was an anomaly or if there is an issue among the herd.”

Kraskiewicz said that the forest district’s deer management program already helps control the transmission of diseases such as CWD. Last year, the district culled 250 deer as part of that program, with 85 tested according to IDNR standards.

The disease recently was found in one deer and, because of that finding, another 20 deer will be culled over the next three weeks from Mallard Lake and Hawk Hollow Forest Preserve, which borders Mallard Lake also next to Hanover Park.

“We need to know whether this is an isolated occurrence or an indication that the disease might be established at a low level of prevalence in this area of the county,” said IDNR project manager Marty Jones. “That’s why IDNR is recommending increasing disease surveillance.”

All culled animals will be picked up by the IDNR and transported to processing facilities for further testing.

Kane County has a similar program for deer in some of its preserves.

The DuPage Forest Preserve District’s deer management program also provides for deer meat to be harvested and processed. The meat is then placed in freezers until testing is completed. If results for CWD are negative, the meat is then donated to a food bank for distribution. If results are positive for CWD, the meat is then incinerated.

Chronic wasting disease is a progressive neurological disease that affects elk, deer and moose, and was first detected in Illinois’ Boone County in 2002. There have been 372 positive results found in 11 northern Illinois counties since. The new case is the first in DuPage County.

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