Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, just won't go away. While it most likely developed in domestic herds of deer, the disease has made its way into wild populations of deer across the country with the latest hotspot being West Texas, according to the El Paso Times.
For the first time in Texas, CWD has been confirmed in two mule deer that came from the Hueco Mountains. The good news is that officials believe this is an isolated incident in a remote part of the state near the New Mexico border.
Now that officials know the disease is active in Texas, they must figure out how they're going to manage it and keep it from spreading. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is working with experts who have dealt with CWD in other states to ensure the right processes and procedures are put in place.
Although CWD is not known to affect humans, it's a progressive disease in deer that always ends with death. Currently, there is no cure or vaccine for CWD. Visually identifying deer with CWD is tough because the disease can be carried for several years before any visible symptoms appear.
Texas now joins a list of 19 states and two Canadian provinces where CWD has been confirmed. CWD was also found in an elk herd in neighboring New Mexico, which makes you wonder if the elk passed the disease along to the mule deer. The ability for one hooved animal to pass along a disease to another is alarming.
Texas is known for it's trophy whitetails and is on the top of most deer hunters' lists, but if CWD spreads, that could all change. Right now, the future of the Lone Star State deer population remains to be seen.