Chronic Wasting Disease has spread rapidly through the Wisconsin deer herd, but most hunters disregard public health warnings to test venison before eating it. The disease prions haven't been found to cross the species line to humans. Above, a white-tailed deer walks in the woods in Waushara County.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture confirmed a case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a captive cervid herd in Osage County, Kansas, and is working with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to mitigate risk to the captive cervid industry as well as the local wild deer population in the area, the department announced July 14.

Though CWD has been detected in wild deer populations in many western Kansas counties, this is the first documented positive case in eastern Kansas and the first in a captive herd since 2001.

CWD is an infectious, degenerative disease of animals in the family cervidae (elk, deer, and moose) that impacts the animal’s brain cells, ultimately causing death. Only animals in the family cervidae are susceptible to CWD. Currently, there is no evidence that CWD poses a threat to humans.

The CWD-infected animal was born and raised on the premises in Osage County where it was tested after being euthanized in late June. The affected premises has been placed under quarantine, and tracing and surveillance are underway on all animals which have moved into or out of this captive cervid herd in the last five years.

The state wildlife department will conduct additional surveillance of CWD in Osage County as part of the agency’s annual testing of wild deer taken during hunting seasons, and through a three-year, statewide research project set to begin this fall. The data will be developed into CWD risk assessment maps and future surveillance, prevention, management and regulatory efforts.

Owners of captive cervid herds in Kansas are encouraged to participate in KDA’s CWD Herd Certification Program. This program provides increased oversight via annual inventory reconciliation, identification of all cervids over one year of age on the premises, and CWD testing for all animal mortalities.

Though certification is voluntary, only operations that have been CWD-certified for at least five years may legally move animals interstate. The infected Osage County animal was in a CWD-certified herd which had not received any animals from any operations that did not have equal or greater certification status.

For more information, visit, call the KDA Division of Animal Health at 785-564-6601, or visit KDWPT at