NC finds 13 new CWD cases

A total of 24 deer have tested positive for CWD in North Carolina.

No new counties reported the disease from 2023-24 season

The NCWRC has confirmed 13 new cases of Chronic Wasting Disease from hunter-harvested deer submitted since July 1, 2023. These new cases bring the total CWD-positive results to 24.

The first positive detection occurred in a Yadkin County deer that was harvested in 2021.

During the fall of 2023, NCWRC collected 36,146 samples, and the Commission has received the test results from 98 percent of those samples.

All 13 of the new cases came from counties that had already tested positive for CWD. These include Cumberland, Surry, Stokes and Yadkin counties. Johnston County and Franklin County received initial CWD-positive results, but secondary testing proved those results were false.

“Our agency’s protocol is to have the National Veterinary Services Lab provide a double-check of any samples that initially test positive for CWD, said Wildlife Management Division Chief Brad Howard. “In the case of the two deer from Johnston and Franklin counties, the initial slides contained what the pathologists refer to as light staining of the follicles. Light staining can very well mean CWD. In this case, the pathologists at the National Lab examined both sample sets and determined that the staining was artifact staining, and concluded that these deer (from Johnston and Franklin counties) did not have CWD. This is exactly why we submit samples for double confirmation, and why we do not initiate regulatory changes until we have that confirmation.”

NCWRC collects harvested deer samples by various means, including drop-off stations like this one.

Testing continues

NCWRC staff will continue testing for CWD, an always fatal disease that is caused by abnormal proteins called prions. These prions slowly cause spongy holes in a deer’s brain that ultimately lead to death. 

Deer and other cervids can carry the disease for up to 16 months or more before showing signs of illness. They spread the disease through direct contact and through environmental contamination from infected saliva, urine and feces.

CWD can also be spread unknowingly to new areas by hunters transporting the carcass of an infected dead deer to an area that previously had no trace of the disease.

Howard said the new cases were not unexpected, and were even encouraging in some ways.

“Working with our hunters, taxidermists, and processors, we tested roughly 19-percent of the total reported harvest statewide. Not finding CWD in any new counties this year is extremely encouraging. We will continue our efforts to monitor for the disease annually to remain vigilant of where it is on our landscape,” he said.

For more information on Chronic Wasting Disease, visit ncwildlife.org/CWD

About Brian Cope 2783 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at brianc@carolinasportsman.com.

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