Powell deer areas test positive for Chronic Wasting Disease

Austin Graft

More stories from Austin Graft

January 28, 2022

Clint Graft

PHS freshman Zane Graft poses with one of his whitetail bucks. The buck was harvested in Deer Area 121, which is Mule Deer Chronic Waste Disease positive.

Aibohphobia is the fear of palindromes. Palindromes are words that are spelled the same forwards and backwards. Forwards and backwards… like going in a circle. What else goes in circles? Deer infected with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

Running in circles is one of many tell-tale signs that an animal is infected with CWD. The virus is on the rise in Wyoming, with nine new hunt areas testing positive.

“I usually go up to our cabin for deer and elk,” junior Colton Brewer said. “Mainly Area 41.”

Powell resides in deer Areas 121 and 122, which have been Mule Deer CWD positive since 1985. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommends hunters test their meat, especially in areas that are positive for the virus.

“Chronic Wasting Disease is contagious,” freshman Kash Brazelton said. “It can go from animals to humans.”

Transfer of CWD to humans is unlikely, but never impossible. There is a chance that, if the meat is eaten, humans could get CWD or other neurological diseases. According to the CDC, Jakob-Cruetzfeldt disease is the most prominent in humans, and there is no cure.

“If I accidently ate infected meat, I would go to a hospital or medical expert,” Brazelton said.

Deer can take up to sixteen months to show symptoms of CWD. The most common symptoms shown are less eating, more drinking, set motions such as running in circles, excessive salivation and teeth grinding.

A well known, scarier, disease is rabies. Deer can get rabies and infect anything that eats them. The symptoms are very similar, but the animals become very aggressive and eventually develop the extreme fear of water, aquaphobia.

“I’m not too worried about [diseases],” Brewer said. “But it does seem to be getting worse.”

As shown by Stephen King’s Cujo, rabies and other such prion diseases like CWD are a very real, very scary problem. In the event of consumption of CWD positive deer meat, visit a doctor immediately and get tested.