BISMARCK — A white-tailed deer found dead just south of Williston in late February has been confirmed positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), according to Dr. Charlie Bahnson, wildlife veterinarian for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

The find means CWD is much farther south than previously thought, officials said.

CWD is a fatal disease of deer, moose and elk that can cause long-term population declines if left unchecked. Since 2009, 14 other deer have tested positive for CWD in North Dakota; 13 from Grant and Sioux counties in hunting unit 3F2 in the southwest, and the other taken last fall from the northwest in Divide County.

The deer found near Williston is the first documented case of a mortality due to CWD in North Dakota. Previous deer found with CWD were hunter harvested before they became sick. This latest deer was severely emaciated and had an empty digestive tract, officials said.

The Game and Fish Department will collect additional samples for testing through targeted removal over the next week or so. In addition to the targeted removal and testing, Game and Fish will review the need to amend the current CWD proclamation to reflect the new CWD positive.

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More information about CWD and regulations regarding CWD are available on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov.