WJTV-TV Jackson

Mississippi receives $207,000 for CWD surveillance

By Sethanie Smith

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding has been approved for chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance in Mississippi.

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) announced the state will receive $207,541.

Hyde-Smith said the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) will use the FY2023 USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) funding as part of a national effort to further develop and implement CWD management and response activities in cervids (e.g., deer, elk).

“The continued spread of CWD in Mississippi represents a threat to the deer population, and, ultimately, the recreational hunting and outdoor tourism that we rely on in our state,” said Hyde-Smith. “The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks will use these USDA dollars on an innovative testing regime that could make it easier for hunters to participate in monitoring CWD.”

The grant will support a project titled, “Environmental Surveillance for CWD: Improving Understanding of Natural Risk and Refining RT-QuIC Protocols.” 

RT-QuIC is a test that screens for CWD in both live and dead animals. These tests could allow wildlife management professionals to detect CWD in populations months or years earlier than they can with existing post-mortem tests, which rely on hunters sending tissue samples to the agency.

The MDWFP CWD program is focused on increasing hunter participation in protecting the health of the state’s substantial whitetail deer population.