BRAIDWOOD – Chronic wasting disease has been detected in a deer in Will County for the first time, the forest preserve district said Thursday.
The diseased deer was found in the district’s Kankakee Sands Preserve in Braidwood, and the discovery could lead to the culling of 20 deer in the area in an effort to control the spread of the fatal disease.
The Forest Preserve District of Will County announced the discovery in a news release and said the board of commissioners will consider culling the 20 deer at its Feb. 13 meeting.
Chronic wasting disease in deer is not considered a threat to human health, although experts advise against eating deer with the disease, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
The IDNR web site has a report on the disease and said it could threaten the deer population if allowed to spread for several years.
The IDNR has requested Will County cull additional deer in the Braidwood area in keeping with a state policy aimed at maintaining herd health and reducing the spread of the degenerative neural disease, the forest preserve district said.
While chronic wasting disease has not been detected in Will County previously, deer in adjacent counties have tested positive for the disease, the district said.
Ten cases of the disease have been found in Grundy County.
The culling would occur at Kankakee Sands and adjacent preserves located south of Illinois Route 113 and west of the Kankakee River.
Deer in the Will County preserves are culled by sharpshooters who are part of the district’s Deer Management Program.
The program for 2013-14 had already called for 21 deer to be culled from the Kankakee Sands area, the district said.
The Department of Natural Resources web site reports 408 cases of chronic wasting disease among Illinois deer since 2003.
Other counties next to Will with cases of chronic wasting disease include: Kane, 15; Kendall, 1; and DuPage, 1.
Most cases occurred in Boone, DeKalb, McHenry and Winnebago counties.