Chronic Wasting Disease Detected in Coleman County, West Texas

Chronic Wasting Disease Detected in Coleman County, West Texas

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has confirmed the presence of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Coleman County, marking the first instance of the disease in the region. The confirmation comes after a two-year-old whitetail buck, harvested by a hunter on a low-fenced property, tested positive for CWD through voluntary sampling as part of the state’s surveillance program.

A TPWD Wildlife Biologist collected the sample, which was initially analyzed by the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. Subsequently, the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa confirmed the detection of CWD. Given the disease’s extended incubation period, surveillance testing plays a crucial role in early detection, often preceding observable clinical signs.

Recognizing the importance of proactive monitoring, TPWD encourages hunters in the area between Coleman and Cross Plains to voluntarily test deer harvested during this season. For more information on voluntary sampling, hunters are advised to contact their local TPWD biologist through the TPWD webpage.

While the Department plans to establish CWD containment and surveillance zones in the affected area, implementation may be deferred until 2024. This strategic approach aims to enhance response time and minimize the risk of further disease spread.

CWD is a fatal neurological disease affecting certain cervids, including deer, elk, moose, and other members of the deer family. The slow and progressive nature of the disease may not exhibit visible signs in susceptible species for several years after infection. Clinical indications include weight loss, stumbling, tremors, lack of coordination, loss of appetite, teeth grinding, abnormal head posture, drooping ears, and excessive thirst, salivation, or urination.

In Texas, CWD was first discovered in 2012 among free-ranging mule deer near the Texas-New Mexico border. Subsequently, the disease has been detected in both captive and free-ranging cervids, including white-tailed deer, mule deer, red deer, and elk.

For additional information on previous CWD detections in Texas and best management practices for hunters and landowners, visit the TPWD’s CWD page.