The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) have released an executive order on the possible spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) following a positive test sample recently found in a Holmes County white-tailed deer.
The FWC will be monitoring certain areas and will be testing samples taken from Holmes County. The emergency order was implemented to monitor and protect against the possible spread of CWD in North Florida.
CWD is difficult to control once it becomes established in a natural population. The best chance for controlling CWD is acting quickly after it’s been detected to prevent more animals from becoming infected. CWD can be transmitted directly – from animal to animal – or indirectly from the environment.
In an executive order signed by FWC Executive Director Roger Young on June 19, new actions include:
- Establishment of a CWD Management Zone centered around the location of the positive sample. The CWD Management Zone includes the portions of Holmes, Jackson and Washington counties north of Interstate 10, east of State Road 81 and west of U.S. Highway 231. See a map of the CWD Management Zone.
- The prohibition of exporting whole cervid (deer) carcasses and high-risk carcass parts originating from the CWD Management Zone
- The prohibition of baiting or feeding deer within the CWD Management Zone with limited exceptions
- The prohibition of rehabilitating or releasing injured or orphaned white-tailed deer originating within the CWD Management Zone.
FDACS management actions to date include:
- Heightened review of transportation permits for intra-state captive cervids to or from captive cervid facilities within the CWD Management Zone.
- Increased communication with captive cervid facilities in the CWD Management Zone.
- Quarantine of all captive cervid facilities in the CWD Management Zone.
Currently, there is no scientific evidence that CWD can be transmitted to humans or livestock under natural conditions. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not recommend consuming meat from animals that test positive for CWD or from any sick animal.
The FWC provides information about precautions people should take when pursuing or handling deer that might have been exposed to CWD.
The FWC is asking anyone who sees a sick, abnormally thin deer or finds a deer dead from unknown causes to call the CWD hotline, 866-CWD-WATCH (866-293-9282) and report the animal’s location.