Yearly Archives: 2007

Five Additional Deer Test Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease In Hampshire County, West Virginia

Preliminary test results have detected the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) agent in five hunter-harvested deer collected in Hampshire County during the 2007 deer firearms hunting season. “As part of our agency’s ongoing and intensive CWD surveillance effort, samples were collected from 1,285 hunter-harvested deer brought to game checking stations in Hampshire County,” noted Frank Jezioro, Director for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR). The five CWD positive deer included one 2.5 year-old doe, two 2.5 year-old bucks, one 3.5 year-old buck, and one 4.5 year-old buck. Four of the five deer were harvested within the Hampshire County CWD Containment Area (i.e., that portion of Hampshire County located North of U.S. Route 50). The fifth deer was also harvested in Hampshire County, but it was killed outside the CWD Containment Area near Yellow Springs, West Virginia.

CWD has now been detected in a total of 19 deer in Hampshire County (i.e., one road-killed deer confirmed in 2005, four deer collected by the DNR in 2005, five deer collected by the DNR in 2006, one hunter-harvest deer taken during the 2006 deer season, three deer collected by the DNR in 2007 and five hunter-harvested deer taken during the 2007 deer season). Operating within guidelines established by its CWD – Incident Response Plan, the DNR has taken the steps necessary to implement appropriate management actions designed to control the spread of this disease, prevent further introduction of the disease, and possibly eliminate the disease from the state.

The following disease management actions have been implemented by the DNR within Hampshire County.

  • Continue CWD surveillance efforts designed to determine the prevalence and distribution of the disease.
  • Lower deer population level to reduce the risk of spreading the disease from deer to deer by implementing appropriate antlerless deer hunting regulations designed to increase hunter opportunity to harvest female deer;
  • Establish reasonable, responsible and appropriate deer carcass transport restrictions designed to lower the risk of moving the disease to other locations;
  • Establish reasonable, responsible and appropriate regulations relating to the feeding and baiting of deer within the affected area to reduce the risk of spreading of the disease from deer to deer.

“Landowner and hunter cooperation throughout this entire CWD surveillance effort in Hampshire County has been fantastic,” Jezioro noted. “As we strive to meet this wildlife disease challenge and implement appropriate management strategies, the continued support and involvement of landowners and hunters will be essential. The DNR remains committed to keeping the public informed and involved in these wildlife disease management actions.”

CWD is a neurological disease found in deer and elk, and it belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. The disease is thought to be caused by abnormal, proteinaceous particles called prions that slowly attack the brain of infected deer and elk, causing the animals to progressively become emaciated, display abnormal behavior and invariably results in the death of the infected animal. There is no known treatment for CWD, and it is fatal for the infected deer or elk. It is important to note that currently there is no evidence to suggest CWD poses a risk for humans or domestic animals.

“Our well trained and professional wildlife biologists, wildlife managers and conservation officers are working diligently to fully implement the DNR’s CWD – Incident Response Plan, which is designed to effectively address this wildlife disease threat,” said Jezioro. “Hunters, landowners and other members of the public should feel confident that we have some of the best wildlife biologists and veterinarians in the world, including those stationed at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens, Georgia, working collaboratively on this situation.”

Deer, Elk Tested for CWD

LINCOLN, Neb. – More than 3,200 hunter-harvested deer and 44 elk were tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD) this fall, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

“A total of 17 deer tested positive for the disease, and all but three of the positive tests were from deer harvested within the endemic area in the Panhandle,” said Bruce Trindle, Commission wildlife disease specialist. “ None of the elk tested positive.”

The deer were taken during the November firearm season. Elk season ended Oct. 28 for all units except Boyd.

CWD is a disease that can affect deer and elk and is always fatal to the affected animal. Humans have never been known to contract CWD.

The three deer that tested positive outside the Panhandle were white-tailed deer. A firearm hunter in Keith County shot one of the afflicted deer a few miles west of Ogallala on the South Platte River. The second was shot in Red Willow County on the Beaver Creek drainage near the Kansas border, and the third positive was harvested in Hall County a few miles south of Alda.

Biologists will sample more deer from the areas where the disease had not previously been detected. Additional samples will help indicate the prevalence of CWD within those immediate harvest locations.

“The prevalence of CWD in deer tested over the past three years has been less than one percent, and the distribution of the disease has expanded very slowly,” Trindle said.

The Commission confirmed CWD in the states deer population in 2000. To date, there have been 133 free-ranging deer that tested positive for CWD through the Commissions surveillance program, which has sampled more than 33,000 deer.

CWD has never been detected in the Nebraska wild elk population.

The Commission plans on continuing its diligent testing of Nebraskas deer herds for this disease.

CWD Test Stations

WELLINGTON – This year, hunters can help the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) monitor the status of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the state’s big game population by having deer and elk tested – for free. Through a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), KDWP is able to provide this service to hunters who harvest deer or elk in Kansas.

CWD test stations will be available in Sumner County through KanOkla Fur Co. 114 S. Third St., in South Haven or call (620) 892-5895 and Jay Dee Brown301 E. Lincoln in Wellington or call (620) 326-7020.

When samples are collected for CWD testing, hunters are asked to provide their name, address, phone number, and hunting license number. This information is collected so the hunter can be contacted in case the animal he or she harvested tests positive for CWD. Hunters are also asked to provide the location where they harvested their deer or elk. This information is necessary to prepare a map to show how well an area has been covered, or not covered, during the testing. As a result, our disease investigators know that more effort is needed to collect samples in certain areas of Kansas in order to better assess the likelihood of CWD being present or not.Many individuals and businesses across Kansas are assisting with the important effort of collecting samples for CWD testing. This list will be updated on a weekly basis as more cooperators are added.

The procedure involves extraction of lymph nodes from the throat of the animal. The samples are then submitted to a Kansas State University laboratory for analysis. The animal should be in fairly fresh condition but depending on weather, animals taken a week or two earlier may still be tested.

Hunters interested in having their deer or elk tested simply need to take the animal to one of more than 80 test stations across the state. KDWP will post sampling results on its website once lab analysis is completed. Results should be available in January. The state’s first documented case of CWD in wild deer occurred in December 2005 in a whitetail doe taken in Cheyenne County. KDWP biologists have collected tissue samples from deer taken by Kansas hunters since 1996 to monitor deer herd health. More than 3,000 samples were tested in 2006, with none testing positive for CWD.

CWD attacks the central nervous system of infected animals and is within a group of similar diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE). While CWD can spread among deer and elk, it is not known to transmit to humans, livestock, or other animals.

More information on CWD is available in the 2007 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary or at the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website.

Kansas Offers Free Chronic Wasting Disease Testing of Harvested Deer

This year, hunters can help the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) monitor the status of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the state’s big game population by having deer and elk tested — for free. Through a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), KDWP is able to provide this service to hunters who harvest deer or elk in Kansas.

CWD test stations are located across the state for the convenience of hunters wishing to have deer or elk tested. The CWD screening test is a tool used to aid KDWP in guarding the health of the Kansas deer herd. It is not a test of food safety. Hunters can find the nearest CWD test station online at the KDWP website.

Numerous individuals around the state are working with the department and hunters to collect tissue samples from deer. The procedure involves extraction of lymph nodes from the throat of the animal. The samples are then submitted to a Kansas State University laboratory for analysis. The animal should be in fairly fresh condition but depending on weather, animals taken a week or two earlier may still be tested.

Hunters interested in having their deer or elk tested simply need to take the animal to one of more than 80 test stations across the state. KDWP will post sampling results on its website once lab analysis is completed. Results should be available in January.

The state’s first documented case of CWD in wild deer occurred in December 2005 in a whitetail doe taken in Cheyenne County. KDWP biologists have collected tissue samples from deer taken by Kansas hunters since 1996 to monitor deer herd health. More than 3,000 samples were tested in 2006, with none testing positive for CWD.

CWD attacks the central nervous system of infected animals and is within a group of similar diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE). While CWD can spread among deer and elk, it is not known to transmit to humans, livestock, or other animals.

More information on CWD is available in the 2007 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary or at the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website.

CWD Detected in Another Big Horn Basin Hunt Area

WORLAND— Hunters keeping track of where Chronic Wasting Disease has been discovered can now add another Big Horn Basin deer hunt area to their list—Fifteen Mile or deer hunt area 125.

A mature male mule deer, harvested along Gooseberry Creek southwest of Worland, tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), a fatal wildlife brain disease that can affect all members of Wyoming’s deer family. CWD had not previously been detected in this area, although it has been detected in adjacent hunt areas.

Cody Region wildlife management coordinator Kevin Hurley received confirmation of the positive test on November 23. The lymph nodes were collected from the deer November 15 as part of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s CWD surveillance effort.

“This is the second new area we have been informed of in as many weeks,” Hurley said. “The previous positive came from deer hunt area 122, near Lovell.”

In an effort to manage the spread of CWD and to understand how widespread it might be in an area, the Department considers taking aggressive actions when cases are found in new areas. “While this discovery does concern the Department, due to the location of this latest positive, we feel this is just a normal extension of the disease from areas to the south. With this in mind, it is our recommendation that we not initiate any additional sampling or removal of deer in this area,” said Scott Talbott, the Department’s Assistant Wildlife Division Chief.

Deer hunt area 125 will be added to the Department’s list of areas known to have CWD. The Department recommends that deer hunt area 125 hunters transport only the following items: cut and wrapped meat, boned meat, animal quarters or other pieces with no portion of the spinal column or head attached, hides without the head, cleaned skull plates (no meat or nervous tissue attached), antlers with no meat or other tissue attached. The head, spine, and other nervous tissue – areas where the abnormal protein or prion causing the disease is found in infected animals – should be left at the site of the kill or disposed of in an approved landfill. Rubber or latex gloves should be worn when field dressing any animal and during butchering.

Although CWD has been diagnosed in some wild deer, elk, and moose in 10 states and two Canadian provinces, there is no confirmed link between CWD and any human illness.

After a review of available scientific data, the World Health Organization in December 1999 stated, “There is currently no evidence that CWD in cervidae (deer and elk) is transmitted to humans.” In 2004, Dr. Ermias Belay of the Center for Disease Control said, “The lack of evidence of a link between CWD transmission and unusual cases of CJD, [Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a human prion disease] despite several epidemiological investigations, suggest that the risk, if any, of transmission of CWD to humans is low.” Nonetheless to avoid risk, both organizations say parts or products from any animal that looks sick and/or tests positive for CWD should not be eaten.

Cody region personnel have collected over 1,100 samples so far this year. Chronic wasting disease is now found in seven deer hunt areas in the Big Horn Basin (Areas 37, 41, 120, 122, 125, 127, and 164). For more information on chronic wasting disease visit the Game and Fish website.