Chronic Wasting Disease Found in One Central Nebraska Deer

A deer, shot by a hunter last month near Grand Island, has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease. It's the first time the disease has turned up this far east here in Nebraska raising concerns among state officials.

Chronic Wasting Disease has been fairly commonplace for some time in states like Colorado and Wyoming. And until now, it hadn't been found in Nebraska, outside of the panhandle. State Game and Parks Director Rex Amack says it's inevitable that the debilitating disease would eventually move eastward. Rex says, “It was never if it's going to come to Nebraska, it was just when.”

Chronic Wasting Disease is similar to Mad Cow Disease. It attacks the central nervous system, and causes deer to lose weight, become listless and eventually die. It can only be spread from deer to deer or elk, and can 'not' be transmitted to cattle or other species. It's exact cause is still unknown.

There is no evidence that CWD can infect humans. However, it can wipe out entire deer herds. That could be quite a rippling financial blow, if deer-hunters went elsewhere to spend money on licenses, equipment, meat-processing and the like.