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Montana records first suspected case of CWD in wild elk

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MONTANA FISH, WILDLIFE AND PARKS

RED LODGE – Montana recorded its first suspected case of chronic wasting disease in wild elk on Nov. 25. The cow elk was harvested by a landowner on private land northeast of Red Lodge.

CWD first was confirmed in the wild in Montana in a mule deer in Carbon County in 2017 as a result of scheduled searches on harvested game. Earlier in November, tests showed that a moose in northwest Montana was suspected to have CWD. All other cases since the disease was discovered in Montana in 2017 have been in white-tailed deer and mule deer.

CWD was found in a herd of captive game-farm elk near Philipsburg in 1999 and the herd was depopulated. Prior to Nov. 25, however, the disease had not been found in wild elk in Montana.

The always-fatal disease affects the nervous system of deer, elk and moose. Transmission can most commonly occur through direct contact between animals. Carcasses of infected animals may serve as a source of environmental contamination as well and can infect other animals that come into contact with that carcass.

There is no known transmission of CWD to humans. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that if an animal tests positive, it should not be eaten.

Visit fwp.mt.gov/cwd for more information.

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