Yearly Archives: 2013

Missouri’s Voluntary CWD Program Receives National Approval

The Missouri Department of Agriculture’s efforts to minimize the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease were recently recognized and approved by the USDA. Missouri’s voluntary program has been designated an Approved State Chronic Wasting Disease Herd Certification Program by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

“The Missouri Department of Agriculture takes its role in protecting the health of Missouri’s livestock very seriously and continues to work to prevent, identify and, as necessary, eradicate disease throughout the state,” said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler.

More than 180 Missouri farms currently participate in the voluntary program, which includes inspections, testing and detailed recordkeeping. Through their participation in the voluntary program, Missouri producers shipping cervids, including deer and elk, interstate have the opportunity to certify their herds as being low risk for the neurological disease.

Missouri’s herd certification program was developed in 2002 to protect and manage captive cervids. The Department applied for approval through the USDA-APHIS Approved State CWD Herd Certification Program in 2012, shortly after the federal program became available. Missouri’s program approval is good for five years and may be renewed.

CWD is a fatal 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. The first known case of CWD in the U.S. was identified in South Dakota in 1997. It has since been found in a dozen states.

For more information on CWD and other animal health programs, visit the Department online at mda.mo.gov.

No wild deer test positive for CWD

None of the more than 2,300 deer tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in three specific areas of Minnesota have tested positive for the disease.

Deer were tested in an area of southeastern Minnesota as part of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) ongoing CWD surveillance and disease management efforts in the Pine Island area. Deer also were tested as a precaution in east-central Minnesota because the disease was discovered in wild deer from nearby Wisconsin. Testing was done in the north metropolitan area because a captive European Red Deer herd in North Oaks tested positive for the disease.

Testing will continue in southeastern Minnesota and the north metropolitan area. Surveillance in deer permit areas 159, 183, 225 and St. Croix State Park will be discontinued.

“The results are encouraging in southeastern Minnesota,” said Michelle Carstensen, DNR wildlife health program director. “To date, the only CWD positive deer we’ve found is the one discovered from the 2010 hunting season that prompted our surveillance.”

In the southeast, 1,195 deer tested negative for the disease in the CWD management zone during 2012, marking the second consecutive year of no positives being detected. Deer tested were harvested during archery, firearm and muzzleloader seasons.

“Cooperation from hunters has been outstanding”, said Erik Hildebrand, DNR wildlife health specialist. “There is a lot of support for ensuring Minnesota has a healthy deer herd in the southeast.”

A helicopter survey conducted in early March within the CWD management zone indicated the objective of reducing deer population density in deer permit area 602 has been met. As a result, the area will be designated as intensive rather than unlimited for this fall’s hunt, allowing hunters to harvest up to five deer.

“A shift away from unlimited antlerless harvest to an intensive designation reflects recent survey results but continues our focus on managing densities while the area is still under CWD surveillance,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program coordinator.

In east-central Minnesota, 1,092 samples were collected during the opening weekend of the firearm deer season. In the north metro area, 180 deer that were killed by vehicles, removed through city deer reduction permits or harvested by archery hunters in the both Ramsey and Anoka counties were tested.

“The thousands of hunters who willingly donated a sample for the disease surveillance effort make these tests possible,” Carstensen said. “We appreciate hunter commitment to ensuring the health of Minnesota’s wild deer population and the help of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, both of which make DNR disease surveillance efforts much easier.”

Deer Samples Negative for CWD

Samples taken from North Dakota deer during the 2012 hunting season have all tested negative for chronic wasting disease, according to Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for the State Game and Fish Department.

Last fall, samples for CWD testing were taken from more than 1,300 deer harvested by hunters in the western third of the state.

“As always, the success of our surveillance program could not be accomplished without the cooperative efforts of hunters, meat processors and taxidermists,” Grove said.

Since the Game and Fish Department’s sampling efforts began in 2002, more than 23,000 deer, elk and moose have tested negative for CWD. Three mule deer, one each in 2009, 2010 and 2011, taken from unit 3F2 in southwestern North Dakota tested positive. All three were within 15 miles of each other.

The hunter-harvested surveillance program annually collects samples taken from hunter-harvested deer in specific regions of the state. The Game and Fish Department also has a targeted surveillance program that is an ongoing, year-round effort to test animals found dead or sick.

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 Found in Blair and Bedford Counties

Game Commission to Hold CWD News Conference Monday, March 4

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Game Commission today confirmed three hunter-killed deer taken in the 2012 general firearms deer season have tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Two were from Blair County; the other was from Bedford County.

“These are the first positive cases of CWD in free-ranging deer in Pennsylvania,” confirmed Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe. “The disease was first documented in early October, 2012, by the state Department of Agriculture in a captive deer on an Adams County deer farm.”

The three hunter-killed deer tissue samples were collected by Game Commission personnel during annual deer aging field checks during the general firearms season for deer. The samples were tested and identified as suspect positive by the Department of Agriculture as part of an ongoing annual statewide CWD surveillance program. The tissue samples were confirmed to be positive for CWD by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, as part of an established verification process.

“The three CWD-positives were part of 2,945 deer sampled for the disease statewide,” explained Roe. “To date, we have received test results from 1,500 samples, including these three positive samples. Results from the remaining samples should be available in the next few weeks.”

An additional 2,089 deer were sampled and tested from within the designated Disease Management Area in Adams and York counties; CWD was not detected in any of those deer samples. Since 1998, the Game Commission has gathered and submitted more than 43,000 samples from wild deer and elk for CWD testing. The three CWD-positives announced today are the first to be confirmed in 15 years of testing.

“Pennsylvania has an active Interagency CWD Task Force and a dynamic CWD surveillance program,” Roe noted, “and we will continue to be vigilant and initiate steps included in the Commonwealth’s CWD Response Plan. We will continue to work diligently with the Department of Agriculture and other members of the task force to better manage the threat of this disease to the state’s captive and wild deer populations.”

The Game Commission is working to identify and engage the hunters who harvested these CWD-positive deer to confirm where the whitetails were killed. A meeting of the Interagency CWD Task Force is being convened this afternoon to discuss the new CWD-positive deer and possible additional actions to determine the prevalence and distribution of the disease within Pennsylvania, as well as to contain its spread.

The latest information and updates to existing CWD information can be accessed on the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us). Public meetings will be held in the Blair-Bedford County area in coming weeks to share what we know about these CWD-positive deer and CWD in Pennsylvania, and to answer questions the public might have about this disease. How these latest developments may influence hunting regulations and other deer policies are at this time still contingent upon the results of ongoing testing of samples from hunter-killed deer, additional surveillance and fieldwork, and Game Commission and task force deliberations. CWD is a degenerative brain disease that affects elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer. It is transmitted by direct animal-to-animal contact through saliva, feces and urine. CWD is fatal in deer and elk, but there is no evidence that CWD can be transmitted to humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The World Health Organization.

Signs of the disease include weight loss, excessive salivation, increased drinking and urination, and abnormal behavior such as stumbling, trembling and depression. Infected deer and elk also may allow unusually close approach by humans or natural predators. There is no known treatment or vaccine.

CWD was first discovered in Colorado captive mule deer in 1967, and has since been detected in 22 states and Canadian provinces, including Pennsylvania’s neighboring states of New York, West Virginia and Maryland.

Game Commission to Hold CWD News Conference Monday, March 4

Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe and other Commonwealth officials will hold a press conference to discuss Chronic Wasting Disease 2 p.m., Monday, March 4, in the auditorium of the Game Commission’s Harrisburg Headquarters, 2001 Elmerton Avenue. To keep Pennsylvania hunters and other residents informed on this breaking story, the press conference also will be webcast through the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) beginning at 2 p.m. Background on CWD and its limited history in Pennsylvania can be found on the Game Commission’s CWD Info Page.

Moose in Alberta tests positive for CWD

Read information sheet [PDF]