GREAT FALLS — A moose in northwest Montana tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), marking the first time the disease has been detected in the species in Montana, according to a press release from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.
A hunter harvested the bull moose in late October near Pulpit Mountain west of Quartz Creek and north of Troy. The harvest occurred less than half a mile to the west of the existing Libby CWD Management Zone.
FWP collected the voluntary sample from the moose and submitted it for testing to the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. The lab identified it to be suspected of CWD infection and confirmed the positive detection with a second test.
CWD was first detected in white-tailed deer in the Libby area earlier this year, leading to the creation of the Libby CWD Management Zone. To date, there have been 30 positive detections in deer. Five of those involved deer harvested by hunters during archery and general hunting season. The detections of infected deer have all occurred within the Libby CWD Management Zone, and all but one has been centralized near the city center.
FWP will continue to conduct CWD surveillance through the hunting season and review sample results after the season to potentially update future sampling efforts. FWP encourages hunters to submit animals for testing in areas adjacent to the Libby CWD Management Zone.
CWD is a fatal disease that can affect the nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. Transmission can most commonly occur through direct contact between cervids, as well as shed in urine, feces, saliva, blood and antler velvet from infected cervids. Carcasses of infected cervids may serve as a source of environmental contamination as well and can infect other cervids that come into contact with that carcass.
There is no known transmission of CWD to humans or other animals, including pets or livestock. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that hunters harvesting a deer, elk, or moose from an area where CWD is known to be present have their animal tested for CWD prior to consuming the meat, and to not consume the meat if the animal tests positive.