Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been discovered in three more counties in western South Dakota.

The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks announced Tuesday that a male mule deer from each Harding and Meade, and a female whitetail from Tripp county was found to have the prion disease.

“While not the news we wanted to learn, we did expect to find CWD in new areas with the increased sampling and testing effort,” said GFP wildlife program administrator Chad Switzer in a press release. “From a disease surveillance standpoint, we are grateful for the cooperation from hunters in providing voluntary samples from their harvested deer, along with participating taxidermists and businesses that provided areas for sample collection stations,” he said.

CWD, which is the deer and elk version of spongiform encephalopathy, is a condition caused by a protein called a prion that causes the brain to become riddled with tiny holes resulting in massive brain damage. In cows, it was known as mad cow disease.

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