Yearly Archives: 2015

Chronic Wasting Disease in One Domestic Elk

Statement Regarding Confirmation of Chronic Wasting Disease in One Domestic Elk

The office of the State Veterinarian confirms that one domestic bull elk has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The discovery came following routine testing of a male elk that was harvested by a hunter at the Broadmouth Canyon Ranch in Weber County.

The infected animal was among 11 elk transported in early October, 2014 to the hunting ranch from the Howe’s Elk Ranch in San Juan County. All but two of the remaining 10 animals tested negative. Tests on the remaining two are currently being conducted with results expected shortly. Both elk ranches are under quarantine, which prohibits any elk from being moved from either facility. State Veterinarians are working with the State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Logan, Utah and the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa to confirm the origin of the infected animal. As a means to prevent the spread of CWD, the State Veterinarian’s Office is recommending the remaining elk at the San Juan County ranch be euthanized and tested.

This is the first confirmed case of CWD in domestic elk in Utah since the creation of the Domestic Elk Act in 1997. CWD has been present in wild deer in Utah since 2002 and wild elk since 2009. Chronic Wasting Disease is a rare disease affecting the brains of mule deer, black-tailed deer, white-tailed deer, elk, and moose. The disease belongs to a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs).. There is no known cure for TSEs, and they are always fatal in susceptible host species. There is no scientific evidence that CWD can spread to humans. The Center of Disease Control has thoroughly investigated any connection between CWD and the human forms of TSEs and stated, “the risk of infection with the CWD agent among hunters is extremely small, if it exists at all,” and “it is extremely unlikely that CWD would be a food borne hazard.

MDC reports two new cases of CWD found in Adair and Macon counties

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports that two new cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) have recently been found in north-central Missouri. One was found in an adult buck harvested by a hunter in Macon County and the other in an adult doe harvested by a hunter in Adair County. These two new cases bring the total of Missouri free-ranging deer that have tested positive for CWD to five for this hunting season and 15 overall. The total cases of CWD in Missouri captive and free-ranging deer now stands at 26.

CWD was first discovered in Missouri in 2010 at a private hunting preserve in Linn County. All cases of CWD in Missouri have been limited to Macon, Linn, and Adair counties, which are part of MDC’s six-county CWD Containment Zone. Additional counties included in the zone are Chariton, Randolph, and Sullivan.

As done in the past three years, MDC worked with hunters, landowners, taxidermists, and meat processors to collect tissue samples from adult deer harvested in north-central Missouri during the fall archery and firearms deer seasons. The Department also collected tissue samples from deer harvested in other areas of the state. MDC has collected more than 1,800 tissue samples this season so far and more than 43,000 tissue samples since the Department began testing for the disease in 2001.

MDC staff will work with select landowners in the CWD Containment Zone over the next several months to harvest additional deer for disease testing and will report a summary of all testing efforts and results once completed.

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. There is no evidence that the disease can affect humans.

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.

Two Wild Deer Test Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in Allamakee County

Two wild deer harvested during the recent hunting season have been confirmed positive for chronic wasting disease in Allamakee County.

The first case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a wild Iowa deer was confirmed in Allamakee County in 2014.

“This is precisely why we stepped up our efforts to increase the number of samples in a five-mile surveillance area around where we found the positive sample in 2014. The more information we have, the better position we are going to be in to implement a strategy to slow the spread,” said Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Bureau Chief Dale Garner.

“We can’t thank hunters enough for helping us collect the samples we needed,” said Garner.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is currently working to obtain as much information as possible about the infected deer to implement its CWD response plan.

Currently, approximately half of the 300 samples collected in the surveillance area have been processed. Once all of the samples have been analyzed, Garner said public meetings will be scheduled in Allamakee County to discuss the results with the local public. DNR plans to collect additional samples.

CWD is a neurological disease affecting primarily deer and elk. It is caused by an abnormal protein, called 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. The only reliable test for CWD requires testing of lymph nodes or brain material after the animal is dead.

There is currently no evidence that humans contract CWD by eating venison. However, the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that hunters do not eat the brain, eyeballs or spinal cord of deer and that hunters wear protective gloves while field dressing game and boning out meat for consumption.

Prior to the positive detection in Iowa, CWD had been previously detected in every bordering state. Since 2002, the DNR has collected more than 900 samples of deer from within a five-mile radius of where the deer are believed to have been harvested. Statewide, approximately 57,000 wild deer have been tested since 2002.

Four Maryland Deer Test Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease

Two deer in a forest the Maryland Department of Natural Resources received laboratory confirmation on January 16, 2015 that four additional white-tailed deer harvested in Maryland tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), bringing the total number of overall positive cases to six. The deer, all male, were harvested in the CWD Management Area in Allegany County during the regular deer firearm season.

The first confirmed case of CWD in Maryland was reported in February 2011 and the second was found in 2014, both from Allegany County. Maryland is one of more than 20 states and Canadian provinces with CWD documented in deer, elk or moose.

“Chronic Wasting Disease has become firmly established in the region since it was initially found in West Virginia in 2005,” said Paul Peditto, director of DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service. “The Department has followed this outbreak closely and has been prepared to find additional infected deer in Maryland. We have sampled intensively for this disease since 2002 and see this as an unfortunate but inevitable outcome. We will continue to manage CWD with the best available science to minimize the impact on our deer population and the people who enjoy these great animals.”

Concerns over CWD should not stop anyone from deer hunting and enjoying venison. There is no evidence that the disease can be transmitted to humans, livestock or other animals. As always, hunters are advised to never consume the meat of sick animals. Hunters are also advised to avoid the brain, spinal column or lymph nodes of deer — all of which are normally removed during the butchering process.

To date, six positive samples have been found out of nearly 8,300 deer tested in Maryland since 1999. Beginning in 2010, sampling efforts have been focused on Allegany and western Washington counties due to the presence of CWD in nearby West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

CWD is a fatal disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord of deer and elk, specifically white-tailed deer, moose, mule deer and Rocky Mountain elk. While the exact cause is not known, it is believed to be a prion disease. A prion is an altered protein that causes other normal proteins to change and cause sponge-like holes in the brain. The disease appears to be passed between animals via saliva, feces or urine. More information on CWD in Maryland is available on the DNR website.

Anyone with questions may contact DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service at 410-260-8540. Keep up to date with DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service on Facebook and Twitter @MDDNRWildlife.

No CWD detected among sampled deer in southeastern Minnesota

No chronic wasting disease (CWD) was detected in hunter-harvested deer in southeastern Minnesota during the 2014 firearms season, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The discovery of the disease in a wild deer earlier this year in Allamakee County, Iowa, triggered the Minnesota DNR’s surveillance effort. The Iowa county borders Houston County in southeastern Minnesota.

During the Minnesota firearms deer season, hunters voluntarily brought deer to be sampled for CWD at eight registration stations throughout deer permit areas 348 and 349. In total, the DNR sampled 411 deer within the two permit areas.

“We thank Minnesota’s deer hunters for their cooperation,” said Erik Hildebrand, wildlife health specialist. “By voluntarily allowing us to take samples from their deer, hunters are helping us keep our state’s deer herd healthy.”

This latest sampling effort suggests that CWD does not exist in Minnesota’s wild deer herd, or is at a level so low that it has not been detected during many years of surveillance.

The DNR does respond to reports of suspect deer across the state and tests them according to symptoms exhibited. Statewide, the DNR tests about 75 sick deer each year.

Detailed information on management, surveillance and a full version of the DNR’s response plan can be found online.