Chronic Wasting Disease Eradication Zone

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This one would be in Rock County near the Wisconsin-Illinois border, and would cover 25 square miles on Beloit's east side.

Fourteen deer have tested positive for the deadly brain disease in Illinois' northern counties. One was shot about two miles south of the state line in Boone County.

Wisconsin authorities created an eradication zone in south central Wisconsin in hopes of killing any infected deer. Now, however, natural resources has no authority to create
Another zone because the emergency rules that allowed it to do so expired in April.

Wisconsin legislators are considering a package to make permanent rules to fight the disease. Extended Web Coverage

Chronic Wasting Disease

  • To date, chronic wasting disease has been found only in members of the deer family in North America. Animals include: Rocky Mountain Elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, and black-tailed deer.

  • There is ongoing research to explore the possibility of transmission of chronic wasting disease to other species.

Clinical Signs

  • Most cases of chronic wasting disease occur in adult animals.

  • The disease is progressive and always fatal.

  • The most obvious and consistent clinical sign of chronic wasting disease is weight loss over time.

  • Behavioral changes also occur in the majority of cases, including decreased interactions with other animals.

What Causes chronic wasting disease?

  • The agent responsible for chronic wasting disease has not been completely characterized.

  • There are three main theories on the nature of the agent that causes chronic wasting disease:
    • The agent is a prion, an abnormal form of a normal protein, known as cellular prion protein, most commonly found in the central nervous system.

    • The agent is an unconventional virus.

    • The agent is a virino, or "incomplete" virus composed of nucleic acid protected by host proteins. The chronic wasting disease agent is smaller than most viral particles and does not evoke any detectable immune response or inflammatory reaction in the host animal.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture contributed to this report.