AMARILLO (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is asking hunters to help them track a fatal deer disease called Chronic Wasting Disease. It is a rare neurological disease that affects deer, elk and moose. The disease has just recently shown up in two different breeding facilities in Central Texas.
Hunters are asked to donate the heads of their kill to science. The scientists will take samples of specific brain tissue from the heads to see if the disease is more widespread than just the two facilities. Dr. Gaymon Helman, the Director of the Veterinary Diagnostics Lab at Texas A&M, told KFDA, “There is only a small part of the brain that is tested, so it really takes a trained individual to remove the brain and to identify that part that we need for testing.”
Chronic Wasting Disease does not affect humans, but it can hurt the deer population if it were to spread, because there is no cure.
The disease could have a huge financial impact as well. The hunting business brings in $2.2 billion to Texas each year. State officials do not want the disease to put that at risk.
Helman said, “There is still a lot of unknowns about the disease in terms of its transmission, so its important that we control it. The state is doing a great job. They are trying to keep ahead of it and hopefully eliminate it within our deer population.”