The chronic wasting disease has spread further throughout the United States, leading to the death of other deer specimens at a breeding facility in Medina County.
Based on the statistics from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Animal Health Commission, 13 infected deer were diagnosed during an epidemiological investigation of the facility. The first case was reported in April after a doe was tested positive for CWD.
National Veterinary Services Laboratory analyzed 33 samples revealing that 13 of them came from infected animals. The facility will collaborate with the Parks and Wildlife Department and the Health Commission to prevent the chronic wasting disease from spreading further.
The CWD infection is caused by proteinaceous infectious particles. Until now, all 25 positive-tested deer came from the breeding facilities where the disease was first detected in 2015. According to Parks and Wildlife, the disease was first observed in 1967 after a captive mule from Colorado had been infected.
But the chronic wasting disease was discovered later in 2012 in the area of the Hueco Mountains, Texas near the border with New Mexico. Over the last three decades, authorities and officials have monitored free and captive deer from 2 Canadian provinces and 24 states.
This infection attacks the brain of the animal, and it leads to behavior changes and eventually to death. Worse, it is a fast progressing disease which means that experts need to develop a strategy to counter this situation as soon as possible.
Still, some animals might carry the disease for years without officials being aware of it, but when it triggers, deer will start showing symptoms such as lack of responsiveness, repetitive walking, weight loss, lowering of the head, and listlessness.
Health officials underline that they have no evidence whether the disease is transmissible to humans or other species of animals. Hopefully, no cases of human infection will be reported in the future.
The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided to take preemptive measures to make sure that there is no risk for people to get infected.
Therefore, officials strongly advise people to avoid consuming meat from possibly infected animals. This way the risks of getting infected with the chronic wasting disease are reduced substantially.