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Chronic wasting disease testing paused, will resume in 2021

LINCOLN, Neb. — With the move to online deer checking for the November firearm season, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will not collect samples to test for chronic wasting disease.

Hunters wishing to have their deer tested for chronic wasting disease can do so, for a fee, through the Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Learn more at vbms.unl.edu/tse-test.

The agency typically collects approximately 1,200 samples from older age-class bucks in specific management units during the nine-day firearm season. Check stations are the primary way staff collects a scientifically robust number of lymph nodes to test for the disease. The results aid in future deer management decisions.

Testing will take place in targeted regions of the state over the next several years, and Game and Parks plans to resume chronic wasting disease testing for the 2021 November firearm season.

Chronic wasting disease is prion disease that attacks the brain of infected deer and elk, eventually causing emaciation, listlessness, excessive salivation and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no person is known to have contracted chronic wasting disease; however, hunters should cautiously handle and process deer and avoid consuming animals that test positive or look sick. Livestock and other animals not in the deer family do not appear susceptible to chronic wasting disease.

Hunters can help prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease by using proper carcass disposal methods. Chronic wasting disease prions, the infectious proteins that transmit the disease, can remain viable for months or even years in the soil. Hunters should field dress animals at the place of kill, avoid spreading spinal cord or brain tissue to meat, and dispose of the head (brain), spinal column and other bones at a licensed landfill.

Learn more about chronic wasting disease at OutdoorNebraska.gov/cwd.

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