Yearly Archives: 2016

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Surveillance Update

We are making good progress on testing the heads submitted during the 2015/16 hunting seasons. But we still have about 900 yet to do. To date we have test results from 3921 heads and detected CWD in 74 deer (68 mule deer, 6 white-tailed deer; 53 males, 20 females, 1 of unknown gender). Majority of these cases are mule deer bucks.

The geographic distribution of CWD continues to expand with the disease identified in the 2015/16 sample to date in 5 WMUs where CWD was not previously known to occur. These include WMU 116 in southeast, 158 and 166 in eastcentral, and 500 in northeast Alberta. These cases are on the Milk River, Red Deer River, and North Saskatchewan River, respectively.

However, the most remarkable new case is an outlier in WMU 242 approximately 100 km further west than the closest known case. This was a mule deer buck harvested on the northern edge of the Battle River watershed west of Miquelon Lake and approximately 30 km southeast of Edmonton. Although we know CWD is well-established in the eastern reaches of the Battle River, the case in WMU 242 significantly expands the known distribution of CWD in central Alberta.

The 24-hr freezers are no longer available. However, heads can still be submitted at any Fish and Wildlife office during their office hours. See page 14 of the 2015 Alberta Guide to Hunting Regulations for office locations and phone numbers. Additional information about preparing and submitting heads can be found at:

The success of the CWD surveillance program relies heavily on participation by hunters, guides, and landowners to ensure a successful harvest that provides heads to be tested. We gratefully acknowledge the efforts of one and all.

The total number of CWD cases detected in wild deer in Alberta since September 2005 is 371.

New CWD Case Discovered at Captive Deer Release Site

AUSTIN – A 3 1/2-year-old captive raised white-tailed buck harvested in early January by a hunter from a release site on a ranch in Medina and Uvalde counties has been confirmed positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). The deer’s origin has been identified as an onsite deer breeding facility and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) are conducting an epidemiological investigation.

Tissue samples revealed the presence of CWD prions during testing at the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) in College Station. The samples were submitted to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, which validated the suspect findings.

The disease was first recognized in 1967 in captive mule deer in Colorado. CWD has also been documented in captive and/or free-ranging deer in 23 states and 2 Canadian provinces. In Texas, the disease was first discovered in 2012 in free-ranging mule deer along a remote area of the Hueco Mountains near the Texas-New Mexico border, and last summer was detected in two captive white-tailed deer breeding facilities in Medina and Lavaca counties.

CWD among cervids is a progressive, fatal disease that commonly results in altered behavior as a result of microscopic changes made to the brain of affected animals. An animal may carry the disease for years without outward indication, but in the latter stages, signs may include listlessness, lowering of the head, weight loss, repetitive walking in set patterns, and a lack of responsiveness. To date there is no evidence that CWD poses a risk to humans or non-cervids. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend not to consume meat from infected animals.

More information on CWD can be found on TPWD’s website, http://www.tpwd.texas.gov/CWD or at the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website, http://www.cwd-info.org.

More information about the TAHC CWD program may be found at http://www.tahc.state.tx.us/animal_health/cwd/cwd.html.

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

DES MOINES – Two wild deer harvested in Allamakee County during the recent hunting season have been confirmed positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), marking the third year in a row the disease has been confirmed in a wild Iowa deer, all in Allamakee County.  

 “This is disappointing but not altogether surprising,” said Dr. Dale Garner, chief of Wildlife for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “This region was a focal point for increased surveillance and thanks to hunters in the area we exceeded our goal of 400 samples. Our next step is to host another public meeting up there, listen to their concerns and discuss options available going forward.”

The surveillance zone covered a 140 square mile area in eastern Allamakee and northeast Clayton County, including the area near Harper’s Ferry. The two recent CWD positive deer were harvested within two miles of where the previous positive deer were taken.

Last year, local residents partnered with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to collect 85 additional samples after the regular deer seasons. None of those deer collected tested positive for the disease.

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.

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, nearly 60,000 wild deer from across the state have been tested.

CWD-positive white-tailed deer found on Iowa County farm

CWD-positive white-tailed deer found on Iowa County farm

MADISON – A white-tailed deer from a deer farm in Iowa County has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), Wisconsin State Veterinarian Dr. Paul McGraw announced today. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the test results.

The 2-year-old buck, which was born on the farm and killed after sustaining an injury, was one of only 15 deer reported to be on the 1 acre farm, according to the farm’s June 2015 registration. The owner keeps a small number of deer for public exhibition only and does not move the deer anywhere except to slaughter. All of the owner’s deer that have died or been sent to slaughter since 2002 have been tested for CWD.

Samples were taken from the buck on January 9 in accordance with Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s (DATCP’s) rules, which require testing of farm-raised deer and elk when they die or are killed.

The farm has been quarantined since 2008 when wild deer within a five mile radius were diagnosed with CWD. The DATCP Animal Health Division’s investigation will also examine the animal’s history and trace movements of deer onto the property to determine whether any other deer farms may have exposure to CWD.

Three Positives for CWD Found in Recent Testing of Deer

LINCOLN – The presence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Nebraska deer has spread eastward, according to findings by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The Commission conducted a CWD sampling operation in its Northeast District deer check stations during the 2015 November firearm deer season. Three samples tested positive for CWD. Those samples were taken from deer harvested in Boone, Nance and Harlan counties. The deer taken in Harlan County, which is in south-central Nebraska, had been taken to a northeastern Nebraska check station, so it was included in the testing.

A total of 759 deer was sampled in three deer management units; Missouri, Elkhorn and Loup East. The deer from Boone and Nance counties were in the Loup East unit. No extensive sampling for CWD had taken place in these units since 2008, when no positive deer were found.

The goal of this sampling effort is to assess the spread and prevalence of the disease through periodic testing in each region of the state, which in turn helps biologists predict when and if future effects on deer numbers may occur. Testing will take place in the Southeast, Southwest and Northwest districts in the next several years.

Although present in Colorado and Wyoming for several decades, CWD was first discovered in Nebraska in 2000 in Kimball County. Since 1997, Commission staff have tested nearly 49,000 deer and found 292 that tested positive. CWD has been found in 30 Nebraska counties, but no population declines attributable to the disease have yet occurred.

CWD is prion disease that attacks the brain of an infected deer and elk, eventually causing emaciation, listlessness, excessive salivation and death. It is generally thought that CWD is transmitted from animal to animal through exchange of body fluids, but other modes of transmission may exist.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no person is known to have contracted CWD and the human health risks from eating an infected deer appear to be extremely low to nonexistent. Livestock and other animals not in the deer family also do not appear susceptible to CWD.

Hunters can help prevent the spread of CWD by using proper carcass disposal methods. CWD prions, the infectious proteins that transmit the disease, can remain viable for months or even years in the soil. Hunters should field dress animals at the place of kill, avoid spreading spinal cord or brain tissue to meat, and to dispose of the head (brain), spinal column and other bones at a licensed landfill