The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has initiated a comprehensive monitoring program to ensure that Florida's deer herds are free of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

Monitoring free-ranging deer involves both a "passive" and "active" component.

  • passive monitoring tests deer that show symptoms of abnormal behavior like increased drooling, tremors, stumbling, difficulty in swallowing, excessive thirst, or excessive
    urination.

  • active monitoring tests randomly selected hunter-harvested deer.

Deer are received at the FWC where samples of brain stem and lymph node tissue are retrieved and submitted to USDA approved testing laboratories for immunohistochemical analyses. Labs include National Veterinary Services Laboratory, Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, Kissimmee Diagnostic Laboratory, and Colorado State University. It may take 6-7 weeks for the laboratories to process the deer, so some of the samples are "pending". Not all deer submitted for sampling are suitable for testing due to tissue condition or improper collection.

Deer collected from July 2002 - present

FWC Region Active Surveillance Passive Surveillance Total # Tested
NC 1815 173 1988
NE 1068 49 1117
NW 2110 77 2187
S 795 18 813
SW 871 23 894
Unknown 16 1 17
TOTALS 6675 341 7016

See more detailed information about CWD sample distribution



FWC Facts:
Otoliths, commonly known as "ear stones," are hard, bone-like structures located directly behind the brain of bony fishes. These structures aid fish in balance and hearing.

Learn More at AskFWC