Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer Spreading

IDNR Graphic

SPRINGFIELD – Chronic wasting disease has been detected in Ford County, expanding the geographic presence of the infection in free-ranging deer populations in northern Illinois, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced today.

Chronic wasting disease, commonly referred to as CWD, is an always-fatal neurological disease that threatens the long-term health of white-tailed deer in Illinois. First documented in Illinois in 2002 near Roscoe, CWD has been detected in 21 counties across the northern edge and northeastern portions of Illinois, as far south as Kankakee and Livingston counties.

CWD was detected – and confirmed through diagnostic testing – in Ford County in mid-March from a suspect-deer exhibiting symptoms consistent with CWD infection. Other recent cases of CWD were documented previously in Bureau and Lee counties during 2023 and 2022, respectively.

Affected counties now include Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Ford, Grundy, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Livingston, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Will and Winnebago.

Wildlife biologists with IDNR will be available to discuss current management strategies and answer questions about CWD in public meetings anticipated to occur later this year. Meeting dates and locations will be published at an appropriate time. Landowners, hunters and interested citizens are encouraged to attend.

Illinois is a national leader in managing and slowing the spread of chronic wasting disease. IDNR’s 20-year program is a model for other states.

CWD management is an important issue that affects the overall health of the Illinois deer herd. Wildlife biologists and disease specialists with IDNR, as well as multi-agency partners, have actively worked to slow the spread of CWD since it was first documented in Illinois.

Current management efforts include encouraging hunter harvest and testing of deer in counties with confirmed cases of CWD, targeted removal in CWD infection zones to slow the spread of the disease, and ongoing statewide CWD surveillance in counties where CWD has not been detected.

In addition, IDNR engages in outreach efforts to raise public awareness about CWD and its potential long-term impact on deer hunting in Illinois. Go online for additional information on CWD management.

For more information about these detections or about CWD, contact Chris Jacques, wildlife disease program manager at [email protected].


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