Discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease in Texas Deer Raises Concerns

Sep 29, 2015

Deer on Trophy Ranch, Ltd. in Terrell, Texas.
Credit Allison V. Smith

The discovery of chronic wasting disease in Texas in June has sent nervous tremors through the state, reports The Texas Tribune. It’s the second instance of the disease in Texas, and it represents a potentially serious blow to the Lone Star State’s $2.2 billion hunting industry.

The disease first appeared in the United States in Colorado in 1967. Since then, it’s been seen in 23 states. Chronic wasting disease essentially alters the brain of the deer, causing behavioral changes and eventual death. Humans are not vulnerable to it.

The disease was detected in five deer: four in Medina County and one in a Lavaca County. Both contaminated herds have been quarantined. The discovery of the disease will probably impact deer breeders in Texas, but whether it results in a drop in tourism or sales remains to be seen.