LLANO — In June, state officials confirmed a case of chronic wasting disease in a Medina County deer breeding facility, making it the farthest east in Texas the disease has been reported. In an effort to keep people informed about the disease, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Llano County AgriLife Extension Service are hosting a program Oct. 26 on the situation.
“Chronic wasting disease is a condition that affects the nervous system of deer, elk and moose,” said John Tomecek, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Wildlife Specialist in San Angelo. He’s one of the program presenters. “It is similar to diseases such as scrapie in seep and goats and bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE in cattle. There is no evidence chronic wasting disease can be transmitted to sheep, goats, cattle or humans.”
Wildlife scientists first detected the disease in a captive mule deer herd in Colorado in 1967. Since then, the disease has been confirmed in 22 states and two Canadian provinces.
The first reported Texas case was in 2012 in a free-range mule deer in the Hueco Mountains of West Texas.
State officials have confirmed at least three more cases of the disease linked back to the Medina County facility. The latest was in August in South Texas, but the deer was raised at the Media County ranch where the initial case in June was detected.
In August, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Animal Health Commission established new rules for breeders before they could sell or transport deer. Before the new rules, the state had banned the transfer of deer since July.
During the Oct. 26 program, people will learn about the disease from its history to clinical signs to prevention techniques.
Whether someone is a landowner, a hunter or a deer enthusiast, the program will be worth attending, organizers said.
Along with Tomecek, Clayton Wolf, the TPWD wildlife division director, will talk about the disease.
The program will take place in St. James Lutheran Church’s Schorlemmer Hall, 1401 Ford St. in Llano. Registration starts at 5:30 p.m. followed by the program at 6 p.m.
Organizers ask that people RSVP to the Llano County AgriLife Extension Service office by Oct. 22. Call (325) 247-5159 to RSVP.