North Dakota wildlife officials say chronic wasting diseases is growing significantly in the state's deer herd with eight additional cases discovered after the fall deer hunt.
The state Game and Fish Department says that brings the number of confirmed cases in hunted deer to 24 since 2009 when CWD was first found in the state.
CWD is a contagious neurological disease affecting deer, elk and moose. It results in emaciation and death.
Infected deer have been found in south central, west central and northwestern North Dakota hunting units. It was not detected in any deer harvested in eastern North Dakota.
No elk or moose in the state have tested positive.
"Overall, we could probably live with these current infection rates long-term, but they suggest an upward trend and we've certainly seen an expansion in the known distribution of the disease," Charlie Bahnson, a department wildlife veterinarian. "We need to continue to try to limit the spread within our herds as best as we can."
The state bans baiting in infected hunting units and some neighboring units and restricts movement of deer parts from those units and other states where CWD is present.