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Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been discovered in an 8 1/2-year-old mule deer in Lubbock County, making it the first time the disease has been detected in the county.

CWD was first recognized back in 1967 in captive mule deer in Colorado. It has been documented in captive and/or free-ranging deer in 26 states and 3 Canadian provinces.

The disease wasn't noticed in Texas until 2012. Since then, it's been detected in 213 white-tailed deer, mule deer, red deer and elk in Dallam, El Paso, Hartley, Hudspeth, Kimble, Lavaca, Medina, Uvalde and Val Verde counties.

CWD is a neurological disease found in deer, elk, moose and other members of the deer family that results in altered behavior due to microscopic changes that happen in the brain of animals affected. Animals can carry the disease for years without outward indication, but in later stages, signs may include lowering of the head, weigh loss, repetitive walking in set patters and a lack of responsiveness.

There is no evidence that CWD poses any risk to humans or animals not in the deer family, but as a precaution the US Centers for Disease Control recommend not to consume meat from the infected animals.

Texas parks and Wildlife is currently working to develop a containment and surveillance zone in the Lubbock area.

Eradication is thought to be impossible once CWD is established in a population, so it's important to try and prevent spreading to other Texas deer populations.

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