The Wyoming Game and Fish Department confirmed a buck deer harvested south of Kaycee has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, according to a news release.

The deer was harvested in Deer Hunt Area 169, and the disease previously has been documented in neighboring deer hunt areas, including Deer Hunt Area 35 north of Casper.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is concerned about CWD and how it may affect the future of Wyoming’s deer, department spokesman Renny MacKay said.

CWD is a chronic, fatal disease of the central nervous system in mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, and moose, according to the Game and Fish Department. CWD belongs to the group of rare diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) that include mad cow disease. These disorders are caused by abnormally folded proteins called “prions.”

Recent research shows it poses a threat to deer populations in areas with a high prevalence of the disease, MacKay said.

The Game and Fish Department has worked with other agencies to determine the prevalence of the disease, he said.

To ensure that hunters are informed, Game and Fish announces when the disease is found in a new hunt area, MacKay said.

A map of CWD endemic areas is available on the Game and Fish website.

Last year, Game and Fish personnel tested 3,882 CWD samples throughout the state, a significant increase from past years, and continue to consider new recommendations for trying to manage the disease.

The disease is incurable and there is no vaccination or other means to prevent it; and once it's established in an area it never goes away, MacKay said. It's not uncommon for 20 percent of the deer in some hunt areas to be infected, he added.

Although chronic wasting disease has not been shown to be transmissible to humans, Game and Fish follows the human health recommendation of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which states that hunters should not consume any animal that is obviously ill or tests positive for CWD.

Visit the Game and Fish website for more information on chronic wasting disease transmission and regulations on transportation and disposal of carcasses.