Yearly Archives: 2015

Allamakee CWD Surveillance Complete – No New Cases Found

More than 100 deer were collected as part of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources surveillance effort looking for chronic wasting disease near Harpers Ferry in late February and early March.

Tissue samples from 85 of the adult deer collected were sent to the National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames for testing and all 85 samples came back as not detected. All collectors have been notified of the results.

“Landowners and local residents were outstanding with cooperation to help secure deer samples in this intensive surveillance effort,” reported Terry Haindfield, Iowa DNR wildlife biologist in northeast Iowa. “Weather extremes went from 25 below zero to 65 degrees above, affecting collecting success. The DNR greatly appreciates the public’s interest and the effort they put into helping collect deer for the additional samples.”

Although the number of samples collected was less than the goal of 200, the results are encouraging and suggest that CWD may not be established at a significant level. However, continued surveillance will be needed in order to provide a better picture of the prevalence of CWD on the landscape.

The DNR has scheduled a public meeting in the Harpers Ferry Community Center, 238 North Fourth Street, at 6:30 p.m. on April 16 to solicit input and begin planning for continued surveillance this summer and fall.

CWD is a neurological disease affecting primarily deer and elk. It is caused by an abnormal protein–a prion–that attacks the brains of infected animals, causing them to lose weight, display abnormal behavior and lose bodily functions. Signs include excessive salivation, thirst and urination, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, listlessness and drooping ears and head. It is always fatal, when an animal contracts it. The additional data is important, to determine the next course of action to slow the disease spread in Iowa.

The four Allamakee samples, which prompted this winter’s special collection, are the only CWD-positive returns on 55,000 samples of wild Iowa deer taken since 2002.

Two Deer Test Positive for CWD

Two mule deer taken during the 2014 deer gun season from unit 3F2 in southwestern North Dakota have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, according to Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for the State Game and Fish Department.

The total now stands at seven deer to test positive for CWD since 2009, and all were from the same general area within unit 3F2.

“This isn’t surprising, and the number of positives coming out of the area remains low,” Grove said, while mentioning both hunters were notified of the positive results.

In addition to unit 3F2, samples for CWD testing were taken last fall from deer harvested by hunters in the central third of the state, and from any moose or elk taken during the hunting season. In all, more than 1,200 samples were tested.

Since the Game and Fish Department’s sampling efforts began in 2002, more than 25,000 deer, elk and moose have tested negative for CWD.

The hunter-harvested surveillance program annually collects samples taken from hunter-harvested deer in specific regions of the state. In 2015, deer will be tested from the western third 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.

MDC reports 11 new cases of CWD in Missouri deer

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports that 11 new cases of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) have recently been found in deer harvested in Macon, Adair, and now Cole counties. A buck harvested near the village of Centertown in Cole County is the first case of the disease to be found outside of the Department’s six-county CWD Containment Zone of Adair, Chariton, Linn, Macon, Randolph, and Sullivan counties. All previous cases have been limited to Macon, Linn, and Adair counties.

These 11 new cases bring the total number of Missouri free-ranging deer that have tested positive for CWD to 14 for this past season and 24 overall since the disease was first discovered in the state in 2010 at a private hunting preserve in Linn County. CWD has also been found in 11 captive deer in Macon and Linn counties.

The Department has collected more than 43,000 tissue samples since it began testing for the emerging disease in 2001. MDC has collected more than 3,400 tissue samples for CWD testing from harvested and other free-ranging deer this season. Results for about 330 tissue samples are still in the process of being tested by an independent, outside laboratory.

“We will provide an update of final results once all testing has been completed for the season,” said MDC Deer Biologist Jason Sumners. “We will continue to monitor the spread of the disease through more CWD testing this coming fall and winter. We are also updating our efforts to help contain the spread of the disease and will be working out the details over this spring and summer.”

Chronic Wasting Disease infects only deer and other members of the deer family by causing degeneration of the brain. The disease has no vaccine or cure and is 100-percent fatal.

Missouri offers some of the best deer hunting in the country, and deer hunting is an important part of many Missourians’ lives and family traditions. Infectious diseases such as CWD could reduce hunting and wildlife-watching opportunities for Missouri’s nearly 520,000 deer hunters and almost two million wildlife watchers. Deer hunting is also an important economic driver in Missouri and gives a $1 billion annual boost to state and local economies.

Lower deer numbers from infectious diseases such as CWD could hurt 12,000 Missouri jobs and many businesses that rely on deer hunting as a significant source of revenue, such as meat processors, taxidermists, hotels, restaurants, sporting goods stores, and others. CWD also threatens the investments of thousands of private landowners who manage their land for deer and deer hunting, and who rely on deer and deer hunting to maintain property values.

For more information on CWD in Missouri, visit the MDC website.

VDGIF reports three new CWD positives in Frederick and Shenandoah Counties, expands Containment Area

RICHMOND, VA — Three new cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) were detected in the northwestern corner of Virginia during the 2014 hunting season. For the first time, CWD was detected in Shenandoah County; a 2.5 year-old buck that was killed by a vehicle was sampled very close to the Frederick County line. Two additional CWD-positive adult bucks were hunter-harvested near the previously established cluster in eastern Frederick County, very close to the West Virginia line.

Due to the fact that multiple CWD-positive deer have been diagnosed at the extreme eastern border of the current Containment Area (CA), the boundaries of the CA will be changing for the 2015 hunting season. The new CA will be comprised of Shenandoah, Frederick, Warren, and Clarke counties, in their entirety. Some CWD management actions that applied to all four counties were initiated in 2010, but others will be newly enacted in 2015. Management actions already enacted throughout the new CA include the prohibition of the feeding of deer year-round and the maintenance of liberal seasons and bag limits on private lands. Actions that will be initiated in 2015 include the prohibition of transport of whole deer carcasses and certain parts out of the new CA (with exceptions) and the prohibition of the rehabilitation of deer in the new CA.

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 and look forward to working together again next season. VDGIF plans to collects CWD samples from the new CA on the first two Saturdays of the regular firearms season. This is also a change from previous years, when samples were taken on the first three Saturdays. VDGIF will also continue to work with the Virginia Department of Transportation and contractors to sample road-killed deer.

As of February 2015, CWD has been detected in 23 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.

Cold, But Successful Start to CWD Deer Sampling in Allamakee County

Despite single digit temperatures and brutal winds, 27 deer were collected, and sampled over the weekend, to help determine the extent of Chronic Wasting Disease in southeast Allamakee County. Landowners and regular season hunters from the area are working with scientific collector permits to harvest adult deer across 31 sections, in two townships, near Harpers Ferry.

The goal is to collect 150 samples on private property and 50 in Yellow River State Forest, after three deer—harvested in the area during the 2014 hunting season—tested positive for CWD. In 2013, the first wild deer to test positive was taken in the same vicinity. Those four samples are the only CWD-positive returns on wild Iowa deer, among 57,000 samples collected, since 2002.

These special collection samples will be added to the 311 from deer harvested during the recently completed hunting season in the same sections.

“We are trying to keep this local and work with the people who have always helped us with CWD sampling through the years,” explains DNR wildlife biologist Terry Haindfield, who is coordinating the project. “A lot of them attended the public meetings last week, where we explained how the collection process would work. We want to see what is happening and the extent of the disease.”

Through the weekend, the DNR issued more than 60 scientific collectors permits, listing nearly 260 participants who were allowed multiple sample tags. Early participants this past weekend brought harvested deer to the CWD collection site, or called wildlife workers to their locations, to collect lymph nodes and brain stems. Collecting on public land will cease when 50 deer samples have been obtained. Collection will cease when overall samples have reached 200 or by March 15, whichever arrives first.

The samples will be tested at the National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames. As results are available, hunters will be notified. Any positive deer will be collected and disposed of by the DNR. Adult deer are targeted, since the always fatal disease does not show up in testing until the animal is about 18 months old.

About one third of the area lies within Yellow River Forest. The public should be aware of the presence of hunting activity — and wear blaze orange clothing in the area during the next couple of weeks. Wildlife officials believe they have sufficient participants to reach their goal by March 15. In addition to those harvested, if the public would report any road-killed deer in the area to the DNR, those will be tested.

CWD is a neurological disease affecting primarily deer and elk. It is caused by an abnormal protein –a prion — that attacks the brains of infected animals, causing them to lose weight, display abnormal behavior and lose bodily functions. Signs include excessive salivation, thirst and urination, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, listlessness and drooping ears and head. It is always fatal, when an animal contracts it. The additional data is important, to determine the next course of action to slow the disease spread in Iowa.

“With these individual confirmations, we treat them as sparks, rather than as a wildfire, at this time,” emphasizes Haindfield. “Many of the people involved were at the public meetings and understand what we are dealing with. That helps in the effort, to delineate where this disease is and how to curtail it at this level.”