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Chronic Wasting Disease in Franklin County: A New Concern for North Carolina Deer

Source - carolinapublicpress.org Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a fatal neurological disease affecting deer and other cervids, has been dete...

Source - carolinapublicpress.org

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a fatal neurological disease affecting deer and other cervids, has been detected for the first time in Franklin County, North Carolina. The discovery raises concerns about the spread of the disease and its potential impact on the deer population.

A Silent Threat

CWD is a contagious disease that attacks the brain of deer, causing progressive neurological damage. The disease is always fatal and has no known cure or vaccine. While it does not pose a direct threat to human health, CWD can significantly impact deer populations and the ecosystem they support.

Discovery in Franklin County

The first CWD-positive deer in Franklin County was a 2.5-year-old female white-tailed deer harvested during the gun season. The discovery prompted state wildlife officials to launch an investigation to determine the extent of the disease in the county and surrounding areas.

Impact on Deer Population

CWD can severely impact deer populations by causing mortality rates to increase. In areas where the disease is well-established, CWD can reduce deer populations by up to 50%. This can have cascading effects on the ecosystem, affecting predator-prey dynamics and plant life.

Preventive Measures

While there is no cure or vaccine for CWD, there are measures that can be taken to slow the spread of the disease. These include:

  • Surveillance and monitoring: Wildlife officials are conducting surveillance to determine the prevalence of CWD in Franklin County and surrounding areas.

  • Harvesting regulations: Special harvesting regulations may be implemented to reduce deer populations and slow the spread of the disease.

  • Public education: Raising awareness about CWD and its impact is crucial for encouraging hunters and the public to take preventive measures.

Protecting the Deer Population

The discovery of CWD in Franklin County highlights the need for continued vigilance and proactive measures to protect the state's deer population and the broader ecosystem. By implementing effective preventive strategies and raising public awareness, we can help mitigate the spread of this devastating disease and safeguard the health of North Carolina's deer population.


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