Official: Fatal deer disease on the rise in western Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas wildlife official says the prevalence of chronic wasting disease in deer is on the rise in the western part of the state.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism recently announced that 37 of more than 360 deer have tested positive for the fatal disease since the beginning of the fiscal year.

Chronic wasting disease causes brain lesions in deer, elk and moose.

The agency’s wildlife disease coordinator, Shane Hesting, tells the Topeka Capital-Journal that most of the CWD-infected deer were killed by hunters in southwest Kansas. He says there’s also been an increase in prevalence of the disease in the northwest over the past several years.

Hesting says the department hasn’t detected the disease in eastern Kansas, but it doesn’t mean CWD is absent from the area.