PIERRE, S.D. – Chronic wasting disease (CWD) was recently confirmed in Ziebach County in western South Dakota. The sample from a male white-tailed deer was provided by a hunter who harvested the deer.
Ziebach County is now considered in the CWD endemic area, meaning the disease has been confirmed and hunters who harvest deer from these counties must now follow the new CWD regulations to help reduce the spread of CWD.
South Dakota has now confirmed CWD in 15 counties of western and central South Dakota, which includes three counties added during the 2020 hunting season.
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal brain disease of deer, elk, and moose caused by an abnormal protein called a prion. Most harvested individuals with CWD will appear healthy and display no clinical signs. Animals in the later stages of infection with CWD may show progressive loss of weight and body condition, behavioral changes, excessive salivation, loss of muscle control and eventual death. Chronic wasting disease is always fatal for the afflicted animal. CWD poses serious problems for wildlife managers, and the implications of long-term management for free-ranging deer and elk is unknown.