An Arkansas Game and Fish Commission official will talk about chronic wasting disease during a meeting Tuesday in El Dorado.

Chronic wasting disease in deer will be the topic of a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the library at South Arkansas Community College, 300 Summit, El Dorado.

Cory Gray, chief of the Research, Evaluation and Compliance Division of the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, will be the speaker.

Gray will speak about what’s being done to curtain the spread of CWD in Arkansas, and what the public can do to help.

CWD is a neurological (brain and nervous system) disease found in deer, elk, moose and other members of the deer family. It is similar to mad cow disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep. The disease belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies or prion diseases. It is 100 percent fatal.

CWD has been found in some elk and deer in North Arkansas, and cases have been reported in Western Mississippi.

The disease spreads through prions, which are abnormally shaped proteins. Studies have shown that the disease can be spread both directly (animal-to-animal contact) and indirectly (through soil or other surfaces). The most common mode of transmission from an infected animal is believed to be through saliva, feces and possibly other body secretions. There is strong evidence that people have helped spread the disease over long distances by moving live infected animals and infected carcasses.

No evidence has been found that CWD poses a serious risk to humans or domestic animals. As a precaution, the Centers for Disease Control and the Arkansas Department of Health advise that no part of a deer or elk with evidence of CWD should be consumed by people or other animals.

Infected animals may not show any symptoms of the disease. In later stages of the disease, however, infected animals begin to lose control of bodily functions and display abnormal behavior such as staggering, standing with very poor posture or losing fear of humans. Infected animals lose weight rapidly, appear in very poor body condition and often stand in or near water and drink excessively. They may also exhibit drooling or excessive salivation. However, these symptoms can be found in other diseases affecting deer and elk.

The AGFC asks that people report any deer or elk showing symptoms of CWD to the commission at .

For more information, contact Laura Rogers at 870-818-6378 or .

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