Yearly Archives: 2012

Chronic Wasting Disease Found in a Farmed Red Deer from Ramsey County

Mandatory surveillance program leads to detection of the disease

St. Paul, Minn – The Minnesota Board of Animal Health today announced that a farmed red deer from a Ramsey County herd tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

The brain stem from a two-year-old female red deer was submitted for testing at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, where preliminary results were positive for CWD. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory today confirmed the positive test. The Board of Animal Health has placed the herd under quarantine and is working with the owners to determine the herd’s future.

The red deer died on the farm on May 10. The animal was tested for the disease as part of Minnesota’s mandatory CWD surveillance program, which has been in place since 2003. Farmed cervidae producers in Minnesota must CWD test all deer and elk over 16 months of age that die or are slaughtered.

This herd has been registered with the Board of Animal Health since 2000. “This herd is an example of farmers who take great care in the management of their animals,” said Dr. Paul Anderson, assistant director of the Board of Animal Health. “In their 12 years of herd registration with the Board, this producer has met all of the requirements.”

The Board of Animal Health is coordinating with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DNR is currently evaluating the situation and will likely test wild white-tailed deer in the area this fall.

CWD is a fatal brain and nervous system disease found in cervidae in certain parts of North America. The disease is caused by an abnormally shaped protein called a prion, which can damage brain and nerve tissue. Infected animals may show signs of the disease including progressive loss of body weight, behavioral changes, staggering, increased water consumption and drooling. In later stages of the disease, animals become emaciated (thus “wasting” disease).

According to state health officials and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that CWD can be transmitted to humans.

Washburn County Deer Tests Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease

SHELL LAKE, Wis.– The Department of Natural Resources has announced that chronic wasting disease, CWD for short, was detected in a wild adult doe found on private property just west of Shell Lake in Washburn County.

Tissue samples have been confirmed as CWD-positive at both the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Lab and USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. DNR received the final test results late on Friday, March 30.

The 3 1/2-year old doe was euthanized by the Washburn County Sheriff’s Office on a small parcel of private land.

In order to find out if the disease is present in other wild deer in the area, this fall DNR will begin a focused disease surveillance effort within a 10-mile radius around the positive location. “The fall archery and gun deer hunting seasons provide an excellent, cost-effective method to collect valuable samples,” said Kurt Thiede, DNR Lands Division administrator.

This is the first wild CWD-positive deer to be found in northern Wisconsin and within the Ceded Territory where the Ojibwe Tribes maintain harvest and gathering rights.

“No changes are anticipated this fall in the broad framework of the hunting seasons,” said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. “We are reviewing today’s news with our wildlife experts and are reaching out to notify the DNR Board, tribal representatives, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the Minnesota DNR. In addition, we have relayed this information to Dr. Kroll.”

Under state statutes, DNR is required to enact a ban on the feeding and baiting of deer in any county that is within 10 miles of any captive or free-roaming deer that tests positive for either CWD or Tb.

This CWD-positive deer is within Washburn County and may be within 10 miles of Barron, Burnett and Polk counties. DNR anticipates the ban on baiting and feeding within these counties to take effect this fall.

Thiede noted, “The location of this deer was more than 100 miles from the nearest known cases of the disease in either wild or captive deer. Our field staff will be working with local citizens, registration stations, processors and taxidermists to collect tissue samples to learn if any other sick deer exist near this case.”

In addition, the DNR will begin to implement other steps, such as collecting adult road kill deer to gather additional samples.

CWD is a nervous system disease of deer, moose, and elk. It belongs to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases. CWD occurs only in members of the cervid or deer family, both wild and captive. Current information suggests that CWD may be transmitted both directly through animal to animal contact and indirectly from a CWD-prion contaminated environment. Recent studies indicate that CWD prions exist in the saliva, urine, and feces of infected deer.

To learn more about CWD, please visit our web site at and enter the search key word CWD.

Three More Cases of CWD Found in Free-ranging Deer in Macon County

JEFFERSON CITY Mo – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) received final test results today from tissue samples taken from 656 free-ranging deer harvested earlier this year. Results included three CWD-positives with two from adult does and one from an adult buck. The testing was conducted specifically for CWD sampling by MDC staff and area landowners over a 163-square-mile area in northeast Linn and northwest Macon counties.

Missouri’s first two cases of CWD in free-ranging deer were detected in two adult bucks harvested in northwest Macon County during the 2011 fall firearms deer season. The three most recent CWD positives were harvested within two miles of the two original cases of CWD.

MDC conducted its 2011 fall tissue-sampling effort in response to two cases of CWD found in captive white-tailed deer at two private, captive-hunting preserves in Macon and Linn counties. Since October 2011, three more captive deer at the Macon County preserve have tested positive for CWD. Depopulation, quarantine and other management activities at the private preserve are being coordinated by the Missouri Department of Agriculture. The five cases of CWD in free-ranging deer have been found within two miles of the Macon County preserve.

While MDC identified Missouri’s first two cases of CWD in free-ranging deer from test results received in January, the Department has been testing for it for years. With the help of hunters, MDC has tested more than 34,000 free-ranging deer for CWD from all parts of the state since 2002.

MDC staff are further analyzing recent test results, continuing to evaluate efforts and lessons learned from other states with CWD, and consulting with various other wildlife experts around the country. The Department’s main objectives are to limit the prevalence and restrict the spread of CWD in Missouri.

According to MDC Deer Biologist Jason Sumners, there are several main factors associated with the management of free-ranging deer that will influence the future prevalence and distribution of CWD in Missouri: local deer density, deer concentration, the movement of deer and the movement of deer carcasses.

“Yearling and adult male deer have been found to exhibit CWD at a much higher rate than yearling and adult females,” Sumners said. “Of the 10 cases of CWD identified in both captive and free-ranging deer in Missouri, eight have been in adult bucks. Additionally, dispersal of yearling males from the ranges where they were born is one of the most likely means of expanding the distribution of CWD. The movement of infectious materials in the form of hunter-harvested deer carcasses that contain heads and spinal columns, where the disease concentrates, may also serve as a means of introducing CWD to other regions of the state.”

Sumners added that CWD has been found in only one small pocket of the state. “Our management efforts will focus on minimizing the prevalence and preventing the further spread of the disease from the area. We will keep the public informed as we develop those efforts.”

CWD is a neurological disease that is limited to deer, elk, moose and other members of the deer family, known as “cervids.” CWD can only be confirmed in deer by laboratory testing of the brain stem or lymph tissue. CWD is transmitted through prions, which are abnormal proteins that attack the nervous systems of these species. These prions accumulate in the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, and lymph nodes of infected animals. CWD is spread by animal-to-animal contact or by animal contact with soil that contains prions from urine, feces or the decomposition of an infected animal.

Deer and other cervids with signs of CWD show changes in natural behavior and can exhibit extreme weight loss, excessive salivation, stumbling and tremors. CWD can be present in and transmitted by infected animals for up to several years before symptoms of the disease appear.

“Most deer that test positive for CWD appear to be healthy,” Sumners said. “Although one of the free-ranging does that tested positive for CWD did exhibit clinical signs of the disease.”

The Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) says there is no evidence from existing research that CWD can spread to domestic livestock, such as sheep or cattle. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) says there is no scientific evidence that CWD is transmissible to humans through contact with or the consumption of deer meat.

The disease was first recognized in 1967 in captive mule deer in Colorado. CWD has been documented in both captive and free-ranging deer in Missouri, along with neighboring Kansas and Nebraska. It has been documented in free-ranging deer in neighboring Illinois, and in captive elk in neighboring Oklahoma. CWD has also been documented in both captive and free-ranging members of the deer-family in Colorado, Minnesota, New York, South Dakota, Wisconsin and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Maryland, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming also have documented cases of CWD in free-ranging members of the deer family. Michigan and Montana have documented cases of CWD in captive members of the deer family.

VDGIF Recognizes Assistance of Hunters, Reports Two New CWD Positives in Western Frederick County

RICHMOND, VA- Not unexpectedly, two new cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) have been detected very close to where CWD-infected deer were found in 2009 and 2010. Both deer – a 4.5 year old buck and 1.5 year old doe – were killed by a hunter in November 2011 in western Frederick County, Virginia, very close to the West Virginia border. Given the proximity of these new positives to the previous cases, changes to the current management actions or restrictions are not anticipated, although CWD surveillance in that particular area may be heightened.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) would like to thank all of the hunters in Frederick and Shenandoah counties for their excellent cooperation during CWD sample collection this past fall. VDGIF submitted over 525 samples for CWD testing from deer brought to check stations, self-service drop stations, or deer killed on the road in these two counties. In addition, 1,120 samples distributed over every county in the remainder of the state were submitted for CWD testing and no additional positives were detected.

VDGIF plans to continue collecting CWD samples during future hunting seasons, along with other management options implemented after the initial detection of CWD in 2009. These management actions include: prohibiting the feeding of deer year-round both in and near the Containment Area, prohibiting the movement of deer carcasses and parts out of the Containment Area (with exceptions), restricting the disposal of deer wastes from the Containment Area, prohibiting the rehabilitation of deer in the Containment Area, and maintaining liberal seasons and bag limits on private lands in an attempt to reduce the deer population. The Containment Area is located in western Frederick and Shenandoah Counties.

As of March 12, 2012, CWD has been detected in 19 states and two Canadian provinces. The disease is a slow, progressive neurological (brain and nervous system) disease found in deer, elk, and moose in North America. The disease ultimately results in death of the animal. Symptoms exhibited by CWD-infected deer include, staggering, abnormal posture, lowered head, drooling, confusion, and marked weight loss. There is no evidence that CWD can be naturally transmitted to humans, livestock, or pets. More information on CWD can be found on the VDGIF website.

Dept. of Ag Notified of Two Positive Tests for CWD at Macon County Facility

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has received two additional positive test results for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in white-tailed deer harvested at a captive wildlife facility in Macon County. Depopulation is continuing at the facility, operated by Heartland Wildlife Ranches, LLC, with approximately 320 animals harvested and tested since the facility’s first positive result was found in October 2011. MDA has received negative test results for approximately 280 animals, with results pending from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory for the roughly 40 remaining samples. The current harvest and testing protocol requires the facility to remain under its current quarantine until all animals have been harvested and tested for CWD, which is a neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose. There is no evidence CWD can be transmitted to humans or non-cervid animals, such as livestock and household pets.