Yearly Archives: 2011

Depopulation Plan Being Developed for Captive Deer Facility in Macon County

The Missouri Department of Agriculture is finalizing a depopulation and management plan for an approximately 3,000 acre captive wildlife hunting facility in northern Missouri following two positive tests for Chronic Wasting Disease. The facility, operated by Heartland Wildlife Ranches, LLC, is home to white-tail deer, elk and red deer.

The plan includes a requirement to depopulate and test all remaining animals for CWD, as well as restrictions on the future movement of animals into the facility. The plan follows multiple positive CWD tests indentified through random surveillance and extends the facility’s current quarantine until all animals have been depopulated and tested for the disease.

In October, MDA received results from the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa indicating that a captive white-tail deer harvested in the Macon County facility tested positive for CWD. The animal that tested positive was inspected as part of the State’s CWD surveillance and testing program. A second positive test result on a captive white-tail deer within the same facility was verified late this week.

“This plan is an important step forward as we continue working to ensure that this situation is addressed quickly and effectively and that the health of Missouri’s cervids is protected from this disease,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Linda Hickam.

The State’s CWD Contingency Plan was developed in 2002 and revised in 2003 by the Cervid Health Committee, a task force comprised of industry representatives, veterinarians and staff from the departments of Agriculture, Conservation and Health and Senior Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In February 2010 a case of CWD was confirmed in Linn County on a captive hunting preserve operated by the same entity, Heartland Wildlife Ranches, LLC. The Linn County facility was depopulated and no further infection was identified at that facility.

CWD is transmitted by live animal to animal contact or soil to animal contact. The disease was first recognized in 1967 in captive mule deer in the Colorado Division of Wildlife captive wildlife research facility in Fort Collins, Colorado. CWD has been documented in deer and/or elk in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the Canadian Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. There has been no evidence that the disease can be transmitted to humans.

CWD is a neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose; it has not been reported in humans or non-cervid animals.

For more information on CWD, contact Missouri’s State Veterinarian Dr. Linda Hickam at (573) 751-3377 or visit the Department online at

Chronic Wasting Disease in New Area

A deer infected with chronic wasting disease has been found in a new area in Utah. That’s not a surprise, though — the new area is next to an area where the disease has been for years.

1,200 samples taken this fall

Technicians at the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Logan have finished testing tissue samples taken from more than 1,200 deer, elk and moose this fall.

Hunters across Utah took the animals, and biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources collected the samples.

One of the deer that was taken on the San Juan deer hunting unit in southeastern Utah tested positive for the disease. This is the first time a deer from the unit has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

Leslie McFarlane, wildlife disease coordinator for the DWR, says she’s not surprised that a deer from the San Juan unit tested positive for CWD. “We’ve found deer with CWD on the La Sal Mountains,” she says. “The La Sal Mountains are just north of the San Juan unit.”

Most deer are disease free

Fortunately for Utah’s deer herds, CWD is not widespread in Utah.

Since 2002, almost 19,000 deer have been tested in the state. Of the nearly 19,000 deer, only 54 tested positive for CWD.

The 54 deer came from three major areas in Utah:

Southeastern Utah -38 Central Utah -10 Northeastern Utah -6

One elk, no moose To date, only one elk — a cow taken on the La Sal Mountains in November 2009 — has tested positive for the disease.

CWD has never been found in a moose in Utah.

Learn more CWD is fatal to deer, elk and moose. But there’s no evidence that it can be transmitted to humans. More information about CWD is available at

White-Tailed Deer Harvested Near Cody Tests Positive for CWD

CODY – A white-tailed deer harvested on Oct. 15 in deer hunt area 165 in the Bighorn Basin has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), a brain disease known to affect some deer, elk, and moose. The deer was harvested near the Greybull River.

CWD is a fatal neurological disease of deer, elk, and moose and with the discovery of the deer in this hunt area, 15of the 39 deer areas in the Big Horn Basin are known CWD areas.

Personnel at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department Laboratory analyzed samples taken as part of the department’s annual CWD survey and discovered positive results for the deer. To date this is the only new area that has had a positive CWD test this year.

WGFD wildlife disease specialist Hank Edwards said the discovery of CWD in that area was not unexpected since there have been positive tests in animals in surrounding areas 122 to the north and 124 to the east.

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.

For more information on chronic wasting disease visit the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website at

Another 3F2 Mule Deer Tests Positive for CWD

A mule deer taken from unit 3F2 during opening weekend of the deer gun season has tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

Dr. Dan Grove, North Dakota Game and Fish Department wildlife veterinarian, said a hunter shot a doe in western Grant County and submitted the head for testing as part of the hunter-harvested surveillance program. Testing was performed at Michigan State University. As of Tuesday, Nov. 22, Game and Fish was awaiting verification of initial tests results from a lab at Iowa State University.

“According to the hunter, the animal looked healthy,” Grove said. “It showed no visible signs of having any health issues.”

This is the third deer to test positive for CWD, and all three were from taken from unit 3F2 in southwestern North Dakota. The first two were during the 2009 and 2010 deer gun seasons. All three were within 15 miles of each other.

“The latest positive emphasizes the importance of continued monitoring along with current and expanding CWD restrictions in and around this unit,” Grove said.

The hunter-harvested surveillance program annually collects samples taken from hunter-harvested deer in specific regions of the state. In addition to unit 3F2, samples during the 2011 deer gun season were collected from units in the central third of the state.

CWD affects the nervous system of members of the deer family and is always fatal. Scientists have found no evidence that CWD can be transmitted naturally to humans or livestock.

Chronic Wasting Disease Update

Download update 102 (PDF)