Yearly Archives: 2008

Chronic Wasting Disease Update

Download Update 93.

Elk Meat Recalled in Colo.; Wasting Disease Found

LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) Consumers are being warned not to eat some elk meat sold at a recent farmers’ market in Longmont.

State and Boulder County health officers issued a recall Wednesday for elk meat sold Dec. 13 at a farmers’ market at the Boulder County Fairgrounds.

The meat comes from an elk found to have chronic wasting disease from a ranch in northern Colorado. Though the disease is thought to be harmless to humans, health officials still warn against eating meat from infected animals.

Colorado epidemiologist John Pape said the meat was tested when the elk were slaughtered, but the results weren’t known until after the meat was sold.

The disease has been traced to one elk. The meat packaging shows a USDA triangle containing the number 34645.

The affected cuts are chuck roast, arm roast, flat iron, ribeye steak, New York steak, tenderloin, sirloin tip roast, medallions and ground meat.

Pape said the infected elk came from a ranch in northern Colorado and was purchased by the High Wire Ranch in Hotchkiss, which had the animal slaughtered.

Pape originally said animals at the High Wire Ranch had been quarantined, but later clarified that the quarantine was in effect at the ranch from which the High Wire bought the infected animal. He did not release the name of that ranch.

The High Wire was simply ”middle-manning” the animal and ”did everything right,” Pape said.

High Wire owner Dave Whittlesey added that the infected animal was one of 15 he purchased, and the others were disease-free.

”These animals were never on my ranch,” Whittlesey said. ”They went directly to slaughter from their ranch of origin.”

The disease has been present in the wild for decades in northeastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming. It spread through some of the state’s elk ranches in 2001 after an operation with some infected animals shipped elk around the state.

Thousands of captive elk were slaughtered in Colorado to prevent spread of the disease.

In 2002, The disease was also found in the wild and deer and elk farms in Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, and Canada.

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

Preliminary test results indicate the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) agent was present in five hunter-harvested deer collected in Hampshire County during the 2008 deer firearms hunting season.

“As part of our agency’s ongoing and intensive CWD monitoring effort, samples were collected from 1,355 hunter-harvested deer brought to game checking stations in Hampshire County and one station near the southern Hampshire County line in Hardy County,” noted Frank Jezioro, director for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR).

The five CWD positive deer included one 4.5 year-old doe, two 2.5 year-old bucks, one 4.5 year-old buck and one 1.5 year-old buck. All five of the latest positive deer were harvested within the Hampshire County CWD Containment Area (i.e., that portion of Hampshire County located North of U.S. Route 50). However, the CWD agent previously has been detected outside the containment area but still within Hampshire County. The area in Hampshire County appears to continue to expand as one of the most recent infected deer was approximately five miles northeast of any previous known infected deer location.

CWD has now been detected in a total of 37 deer in Hampshire County (i.e., two road-killed deer – one in 2005 and one in 2008, 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, six hunter-harvested deer taken during the 2007 deer season, 11 deer collected by the DNR in 2008, and five hunter-harvested deer taken during the 2008 deer season). The DNR will continue to update management actions designed to control the spread of this disease, prevent further introduction of the disease, and possibly eliminate the disease from the state as information from deer testing within West Virginia is gathered and scientists across the country provide more information on how to combat CWD in white-tailed deer.

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

  • CWD testing efforts designed to determine the prevalence and distribution of the disease.
  • Deer population management 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 monitoring and management 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 effectively address this wildlife disease threat, and we are collaborating with nationally recognized wildlife disease experts at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens, GA” Jezioro said.

CWD-Positive White-Tailed Deer Found on Jefferson County Hunting Preserve

MADISON — A white-tailed deer on a Jefferson County hunting preserve has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt announced today.

The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, reported the test results Thursday, Dec. 18. The animal was a 7-year-old buck owned by Steve Hookstead, Helenville, and was one of a very small herd in the Town of Farmington preserve. Only two deer now remain in the preserve.

The deer was killed on Dec. 1 as part of a culling effort. The Animal Health Division of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s investigation will look at the animal’s history and trace movements of deer onto and off the property to find out whether other herds may have been exposed to CWD.

Deer herds on hunting preserves are generally not on the state’s CWD monitoring program. However, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection rules require that all farm-raised deer and elk 16 months or older must be tested when they die, go to slaughter or are killed.

Ehlenfeldt quarantined the remaining two deer immediately. The quarantine stops movement of live deer off or onto the property without written permission from the department. Hookstead also has a breeding herd elsewhere on his property; that herd is “medically separated” from the hunting preserve, meaning that the deer in that herd have had no contact with the animals on the hunting preserve or the land itself, so they are not quarantined.

To date, 99 farm-raised animals in Wisconsin have tested positive for CWD on nine farms and hunting preserves, including 82 on a single Portage County operation. One of the infected animals was an elk; the rest have been white-tailed deer. To date, more than 22,500 farm-raised deer and elk have been tested.

IDNR Issues Reminder: Don’t feed Wild Deer

Feeding wild deer could further spread of CWD

SPRINGFIELD- The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is reminding Illinois residents and visitors to refrain from feeding wild deer and other wildlife in areas where wild deer are present. A ban on feeding wild deer was enacted in 2002 as part of the state’s continuing effort to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the Illinois wild deer herd.

The ban includes food, salt, mineral blocks and other food products, with some exceptions. For example, bird and squirrel feeders close to homes and incidental feeding of wildlife within active livestock operations are exempt from the ban. The ban also does not prevent individuals from planting food plots. For a complete list of the exemptions see the administrative rule 17 Illinois Administrative Code Part 635 on the IDNR web site.

“A person’s instinct may tell them that feeding a wild animal, especially during the winter months, will help that animal survive when in actuality they may be hurting that animal’s ability to find food on their own,” said IDNR Acting Director Sam Flood. “Areas where deer congregate have the potential to contribute to the spread of diseases that are transmitted by animal to animal contact, including CWD and bovine tuberculosis. Eliminating the feeding of wild deer will help control the spread of CWD and other diseases among these animals.”

Feed stores, pet stores and other retail outlets are also advised not to promote the sale of salt blocks, grain or other feed for wild deer.

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disease found in deer and elk. The disease affects the brains of infected animals, causing them to become emaciated, display abnormal behavior, lose coordination and eventually die.

It is not known to be contagious to livestock or humans.

CWD has been diagnosed in wild, free-ranging deer and elk as well as in captive animals in a number of western states for many years. The first confirmed cases of CWD in wild deer in Illinois were detected in Boone and Winnebago counties in 2002. To date, a total of 240 deer have tested positive for CWD in Illinois. The affected animals were found or harvested by hunters in Boone, Winnebago, McHenry, DeKalb, Ogle, LaSalle and Stephenson counties.

IDNR continues to collect tissue samples from wild deer for CWD testing. As part of the surveillance and monitoring effort, hunters in northern Illinois are asked to voluntarily provide tissues samples from deer they are harvesting during the Special CWD and Late-Winter Anterless-Only deer seasons in January.