The first-ever case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Harrison County has been confirmed with a deer testing positive for the illness.
Mississippi’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks reports that it recently received CWD-positive test results for a hunter-harvested buck from the coastal county.
CWD is a highly contagious and fatal ailment among deer populations that damages portions of the wild animal’s brain and typically causes progressive loss of body condition, behavioral changes, excessive salivation, and ultimately death.
The buck was considered “suspect positive” through initial testing and confirmed on Wednesday by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories.
Due to the presence of the disease near the Mississippi Coast, wildlife officials say additional information will be forthcoming about a new CWD management zone. The department currently has two zones operating in Mississippi.
Hunters in the CWD management zones are subject to strict regulations, including being unable to transport deer carcasses outside the boundaries of the defined regions.
North Mississippi management zone
Includes all portions of Alcorn, Benton, Desoto, Lafayette, Marshall, Panola, Prentiss, Tate, Tippah, Tishomingo, and Union counties, as well as portions of Coahoma, Quitman, and Tunica counties defined as:
- Areas south of Highway 4
- Areas east of Old Highway 61 to the intersection of Highway 49 (Lula)
- Areas east of Highway 49 to the intersection of Highway 278
- Areas north of Highway 278
- Areas west of Highway 3
Issaquena management zone
Portions of Issaquena County defined as:
- All areas east of the Mississippi River
- All areas south of Highway 14
Since February 2018, 218 CWD-positive white-tailed deer have been detected across 11 Mississippi counties. Hunters can submit deer for testing at established freezer locations or participating taxidermists.