APR 15, 2024   |   Around the Country

First Positive Case of Chronic Wasting Disease in Indiana

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has confirmed Indiana’s first positive case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in LaGrange County. CWD is a neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, resulting in their eventual death.

This positive case is adjacent to a region where CWD had previously been detected in Michigan. CWD has been detected in wild deer in 33 states, including all states bordering Indiana.

“CWD has been in our region for many years with positive cases in all of our surrounding states,” said Joe Caudell, Indiana DNR deer biologist. “The public can help by reporting sightings of sick or dead deer to the DNR, as well as submitting harvested deer for testing during deer hunting season. Through increased awareness and testing, we can work to monitor CWD within Indiana’s deer population.”

Because CWD had previously been detected in Michigan near the Indiana border, finding it in this area of Indiana was highly likely, Caudell said, and DNR will continue monitoring the area for CWD.

There have been no reported cases of CWD infection in humans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that hunters strongly consider having their harvested deer tested before eating the meat. The CDC also recommends not eating meat from an animal that tests positive for CWD. For more information about the CDC’s recommendations, visit cdc.gov/prions/cwd.

The Indiana white-tailed deer was a male harvested by a hunter and confirmed positive for CWD by two independent tests. CWD is caused by a misfolded prion that causes damage to the animal’s nervous system. CWD can spread from deer-to-deer contact or through contaminated environments and remains in the soil for many years. Animals in the late stages of CWD can appear emaciated, show erratic behavior, and exhibit neurological irregularities. If you see any sick or dead wildlife, please report it at on.IN.gov/sickwildlife.

Indiana’s various deer hunting seasons run from mid-September until the end of January.

During hunting season, to have their harvested deer tested for CWD, hunters can drop off its head in a freezer outside a Fish & Wildlife Area or State Fish Hatchery office or schedule appointments to bring their harvested deer to these sites to be tested. All CWD sampling locations can be viewed through an interactive map. Alternatively, people may submit samples directly to the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL) at Purdue University for a fee. More information and submission forms are available on the ADDL website.

Find more information about CWD on our website at on.IN.gov/CWD.

To view more DNR news releases, please see dnr.IN.gov.