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DuPage deer found with chronic wasting disease

Deer danger: White-tail deer may be more risk for certadiseases due extremely dry weather this year. | Staff photo

Deer danger: White-tail deer may be in more risk for certain diseases due to the extremely dry weather this year. | Staff photo

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Updated: February 17, 2013 6:31AM

State and local wildlife authorities are planning additional tests on deer killed in two local forest preserves through its herd control initiative, after DuPage County’s first diagnosis of chronic wasting disease was found in an animal taken down last year.

The infected animal was part of the herd in the Mallard Lake Forest Preserve in Hanover Park.

Brian Kraskiewicz, ecologist with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, emphasized that the illness poses no risk to the public. The follow-up testing is being done collaboratively with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to establish whether the disease has been spread within the herd.

“We need to know whether this is an isolated occurrence or an indication that the disease might be established at a low level of prevalence in this area of the county,” said Marty Jones, a project manager with the IDNR, in a press release.

The forest district’s annual deer culling program, designed to prevent overpopulation of deer herds and resultant shifts in the ecological balance of their habitat, removed 250 deer from county preserves last year, including 55 taken out by sharpshooters working in Naperville’s 1,840-acre Springbrook Prairie. Officials tested 85 of the carcasses for disease. Because the highly contagious and degenerative CWD was found in one of those screened that originated at Mallard Lake, an additional 20 will be culled by early February from there and the adjacent Hawk Hollow Forest Preserve.

First detected in Boone County in 2002, chronic wasting disease has been found in 372 animals tested from 11 northers Illinois Counties.

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