Two diseases striking deer herds this year

The Missouri Department of Conservation is concerned about two diseases affecting deer this year — chronic wasting disease and blue tongue disease.

The Missouri Department of Conservation is concerned about two diseases affecting deer this year — chronic wasting disease and blue tongue disease.

Missouri deer hunters should be on the lookout for two diseases this season, the Missouri Conservation Department warns.

Jason Sumners, MDC resource scientist, is concerned about chronic wasting disease, which is caused by abnormal proteins that attack the nervous system. Deer come in contact with the abnormal proteins in the form of feces, urine and decomposition of an infected animal as well as through feeding and contact with free-range deer.

“CWD is a persistent, long-lasting disease that can last up to 15 months from the time of infection to death,” Sumners said.

Infectious agents known as prions accumulate in the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, and lymph nodes of infected deer. The disease is always fatal. Prions live in non-edible parts of the deer that are usually discarded by hunters.

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