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Contagious Deer Disease Found in Florida

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State wildlife officials are asking people to report sick, abnormally thin deer and deer found dead of unknown causes after a case of chronic wasting disease was found in Northwest Florida. The positive test was the first known case in Florida of the contagious disease, which has been found in 30 other states and four Canadian provinces, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The disease has been described as similar to mad cow disease, with deer becoming emaciated and often being found isolated and trembling. The disease was found in a female deer in Holmes County that the commission described as “road-killed.” Commission Executive Director Roger Young said in a news release that the state is trying to “limit the effects this will have on Florida’s deer population and preserve our exceptional hunting opportunities for future generations statewide.” Chronic wasting disease is not known to affect people. But the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against eating meat from animals that test positive for the disease. The state has monitored for the disease since 2002, testing about 17,500 dead deer, according to the commission. Florida also has rules about importing deer carcasses from other states to try to prevent spread of the disease.

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