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Wildlife officials trying to contain spread of deer disease similar to mad cow

14 cases of chronic wasting disease identified in Texas in 2017

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SAN ANTONIO – New regulations imposed on the 2017-2018 hunting season include efforts to contain the spread of chronic wasting disease -- a disease similar to mad cow disease.

Vaccines don't prevent the disease and antibiotics can't cure it. In fact, there's no known treatment, but while CWD is similar to mad cow disease, there is no evidence that CWD can be transmitted to people.

RELATED: Chronic wasting disease detected in Medina County buck 

Still, health officials advise hunters not to consume meat from animals known or believed to be infected with CWD or any other disease.

According to Texas Parks and Wildlife officials, the disease is spread through "natural movements of infected animals, and transportation of live infected animals or carcass parts."

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The disease causes prions to accumulate in the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen and lymph nodes of infected animals, eventually killing them. A CWD epidemic could devastate the deer population.

RELATED: Parks and Wildlife meeting addresses chronic wasting disease in Medina County 

In an effort to contain the disease, regulations now require hunters who harvest CWD susceptible animals within CWD Containment and Surveillance Zones to bring their animals to a TPWD checkpoint within 48 hours of killing the animal.

The new rules also restrict hunters from moving CWDsusceptible animals' carcasses to and from CWD zones.

RELATED: Rancher issues update on effects of chronic wasting disease 

The closest CWD Containment and Surveillance Zone to San Antonio begins in part of Hondo and runs through Sabinal. There are a total of three zones in Texas.

This year alone, 14 cases of CWD have been confirmed in Medina and Uvalde County. All but one of the cases were discovered in animals at a breeding facility. 

More information on check stations, zones and CWD can be found on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.