‘Zombie deer disease’ discovered in Bexar County

Chronic Wasting Disease found in deer captured in Hollywood Park

File image of a deer. (Image by edbo23 from Pixabay)

BEXAR COUNTY, Texas – The highly infectious Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), also known as zombie deer disease, has been discovered in Bexar County.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials were notified that a free-range white-tailed deer in Bexar County tested positive after it was captured in late January in Hollywood Park.

The deer was captured as part of an effort to reduce overabundant deer populations. The animal was then taken to Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in College Station, where postmortem samples were analyzed that determined the deer to be positive for CWD.

CWD is a highly transmissible, fatal neurological disease that can remain infectious on the landscape for several years. It is found in certain cervids, including deer, elk, moose and other members of the deer family.

Clinical signs of the disease include progressive weight loss, stumbling or tremors with a lack of coordination, excessive thirst, salivation or urination, loss of appetite, teeth grinding, abnormal head posture and/or drooping ears.

TPWD officials said these signs might not become evident until long after an animal has been infected.

There is no evidence that CWD poses a risk to humans.

CWD was first discovered in 1967 in a captive mule deer in Colorado. In Texas, the disease was first discovered in 2012 in a free-ranging mule deer along a remote area of the Hueco Mountains near the Texas-New Mexico border.

A map of the current distribution of CWD in North America can be seen on the U.S. Geological Survey’s Distribution of Chronic Wasting Disease in North America.

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.