TIPTON COUNTY, Tenn. — A deer in Tipton County has preliminarily tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).

The sample came from a 3-year-old doe that appeared to be sick. She was found approximately eight miles from the Arkansas border.  

Tipton County was the last of eight southwestern Tennessee counties added to the newly-created Unit CWD. The disease was confirmed to have spread to Tennessee for the first time last year when testing confirmed 186 carcasses positive for CWD in Fayette, Hardeman, and Madison counties. Wildlife officials developed a containment zone and altered hunting regulations in those counties in an effort to prevent its spread.  

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CWD poses a significant ecological threat nationwide as members of the deer family become infected. The TWRA said the disease is 100 percent fatal to deer and elk, and can be transmitted in a variety of ways such as contaminated feed or water sources.

If the deer is confirmed CWD-positive, the only change for the county will be the reclassification to CWD positive and, as a result, an automatic slight modification to the carcass exportation restrictions there.

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“We are sampling for CWD heavily in and around Unit CWD and, as a result, expect to find many more positive deer this season, as compared to the 186 found at the end of last deer season,” said Chuck Yoest CWD coordinator for the TWRA.  “TWRA also expects more of the four remaining high-risk counties to be reclassified to positive once the agency has a more complete understanding of CWD. This is not due to matters quickly getting worse. It is due to the greater focus and increased sampling. We encourage people to visit CWDinTennessee.com to know the latest, as new information will available as deer season continues.”