Two Cases of Chronic Wasting Disease Found at Deer Farms

Positive tests were confirmed on farms in Van Buren County

DES MOINES, Iowa (Nov. 22, 2019) — The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has confirmed that Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been found in captive white-tail deer on two separate farms in Van Buren County, Iowa. Both sites are quarantined while the Department works to trace potential exposures and contain the disease.

There is no evidence that CWD can spread to humans, pets or domestic livestock. CWD is a neurological disease that only affects deer, elk and moose. It is caused by an abnormal protein called a prion and impacts the brain of the infected animal. The prions can attach to soil and spread the disease among deer. Symptoms of the disease include excessive salivation, thirst and urination, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, listlessness as well as drooping ears and head.

The disease was detected as part of the Department’s voluntary CWD monitoring program. Participating producers test deceased farm-raised deer and elk over 12 months of age. Positive test results must be reported to the Iowa Department of Agriculture.

Chronic Wasting Disease was first identified in captive mule deer at a research facility in Colorado in 1967. The disease was then found in Wisconsin in 2002. Since 2002, Iowa has tested for CWD in 7,447 captive deer and elk as part of its surveillance program. The last confirmed case in Iowa was in Buchanan County in 2016.

To learn more about CWD, visit


About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 12 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land for the next generation. Learn more at

Keely Coppess
Communications Director
(515) 326-1616