Chronic wasting disease detected in Great Falls mule deer buck

Wildlife health staff with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks recently detected chronic wasting disease in a mule deer buck found dead within the city limits of Great Falls in January.

The adult buck was observed acting abnormally by a property owner, who later found the dead deer inside a building on the property. Biologists collected samples from the deer, and they were confirmed to be positive for CWD in two separate laboratory tests, according to FWP.

It’s the first confirmed CWD case within the city limits.

Chronic wasting disease detected north of Belt [2022]

A mule deer buck harvested by a hunter in Hunting District 405 about 15 miles east of Great Falls near Belt was confirmed to have CWD late last year, according to FWP.

CWD is a contagious neurological disease that infects deer, elk and moose. It is always fatal, and there is no known cure. It was first detected in Montana’s wild herds in 2017. The disease is known to exist in other parts of north-central Montana, especially north of Highway 2, as well as in other areas of the state.

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FWP has conducted rotating surveillance for CWD throughout the state for several years, and HD 405 and the city of Great Falls are within the priority surveillance area for testing. FWP asks property owners in the Great Falls area to avoid feeding deer and other wildlife, since unnatural concentrations of wildlife increases the risk of spreading CWD and other diseases, according to FWP.

CWD is not known to infect humans, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people not eat meat from infected animals and have their harvested animals tested before eating them if they were taken from an area where CWD is known to exist.

More information on CDC recommendations is here.