Carcass Transportation Regulations in the United States and Canada

cwd_mapDownload the full Chronic Wasting Disease and Cervidae Regulations in North America. [PDF]

Download a quick reference map of Rules Governing Interstate Transport of High-risk White-tailed Deer Carcass Parts [PDF].

The number one objective in the management of CWD is to prevent its spread into new areas. One theoretical mode of disease transmission is via infected carcasses. Therefore, in an effort to minimize the risk of disease spread, a number of states have adopted regulations affecting the transportation of hunter-harvested deer and elk.

Since the suspected infective agent (prion) is concentrated in the brain, spinal cord and lymph glands, the most common regulation is the prohibition of the importation of whole carcasses harvested from CWD areas. Some states, like Colorado, also have established regulations addressing the transport of deer and elk out of CWD areas. Generally, states that have adopted carcass transportation regulations do not allow the importation of any brain or spinal column tissue and allow transport of only the following:

  • Meat that is cut and wrapped (either commercially or privately).
  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached.
  • Meat that has been boned out.
  • Hides with no heads attached.
  • Clean (no meat or tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached.
  • Antlers with no meat or tissue attached.
  • Upper canine teeth, also known as "buglers," "whistlers," or "ivories."
  • Finished taxidermy.

A summary of state-by-state carcass transportation regulations is provided in Column J of the regulations on each state page (accessible from the home page) or on the map. Since these regulations are continually evolving, it is recommended that before hunting you check the CWD regulations in your home state, the state in which you will be hunting and states in which you will travel through en route home from your hunting area. Most state wildlife agencies provide regulations information on their websites, and may be accessed via the clickable map on the home page.

The Carcass Transport and Disposal Working Group of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) Fish and Wildlife Health Committee developed the following guidelines for regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to carcass transport and disposal. The intent of the working group is to encourage states to adopt policies that minimize risk; do not hinder hunting, wild cervid population management, or disease control; are easily understood; and promote compliance because they are consistent and well-justified. The recommendations are based on current knowledge of CWD and may be updated when new information becomes available. The Working Group recognizes state wildlife management agencies will tailor their approach to fit individual concerns and situations, and asks that agency directors, through AFWA, give serious and urgent consideration to this matter so that this potential risk of CWD spread can be minimized.

Transport and Disposal of Hunter-killed Cervid Carcasses: Recommendations to Wildlife Agencies to Reduce Chronic Wasting Disease Risks [PDF]

US Legislation

---April 6, 2004---
Senate Hearing on S1366 - Chronic Wasting Disease Financial Assistance Act of 2003

Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Water
April 6, 2004

CWD Alliances’ Testimony PDF document
Other Testimony

---January 9, 2004---
S 2007 - BSE and Other Prion Disease Prevention and Public Health Protection Act

To provide better protection against bovine spongiform encephalopathy and other prion diseases.
S 2007 PDF document
S 2007 Word document

---June 19, 2003---
Congressional Hearing on HR 2057

U.S. House of Representatives
House Resources Committee
Subcommittees on Forests and Forest Health, and
Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans
Thursday, June 19, 2003

Testimony

---June 9, 2003---
HR 2431 - Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force Establishment Act of 2003 (Introduced in House)

To establish a National Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force, and for other purposes.
HR2431 Word document

---June 9, 2003---
HR 2430 - Chronic Wasting Disease Research, Monitoring, and Education Enhancement Act of 2003 (Introduced in House)

To amend the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act to coordinate and strengthen scientific research and monitoring, and to promote public outreach, education, and awareness, of Chronic Wasting Disease affecting free-ranging populations of deer and elk, and for other purposes.
HR2430 Word document

---June 9, 2003---
S 1366 - Chronic Wasting Disease Financial Assistance Act of 2003 (Introduced in Senate)

To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to make grants to State and tribal governments to assist State and tribal efforts to manage and control the spread of chronic wasting disease in deer and elk herds, and for other purposes.
S1366 PDF document | Word document

---June 9, 2003---
HR 2636 - Chronic Wasting Disease Financial Assistance Act of 2003 (Introduced in House)

To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to make grants to State and tribal governments to assist State and tribal efforts to manage and control the spread of chronic wasting disease in deer and elk herds, and for other purposes.
HR2636 PDF document | Word document

---May 9, 2003---
S 1036 - Chronic Wasting Disease Support Act of 2003

Introduce in the Senate May 9, 2003 by Senator Allard (CO)
S1036 Word document
S1036 PDF document

---May 9, 2003---
HR 2057 - Chronic Wasting Disease Support for States Act of 2003

Introduced in the House of Representatives May 9, 2003 by Rep. McInnis (CO)
HR2057 Word document
HR2057 PDF document

---April 18, 2003---
FY 2004 Budget - Conservation Organizations Request Congressional Support for CWD

24 organizations sign letter requesting funding for National CWD Plan- April 18, 2003
Letter Word document

---May 16, 2002---
Congressional Hearing on Chronic Wasting Disease

U.S. House of Representatives
House Resources Committee
Subcommittees on Forests and Forest Health, and
Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans
May 16, 2002
CWD Alliances’ Testimony PDF document | Word document

  • All
  • 2
  • Recent News
  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
load more hold SHIFT key to load all load all

News by Year

2017 (5)2016 (1)2015 (2)2014 (2)2012 (2)2011 (4)2010 (3)2009 (5)2008 (4)2007 (8)2006 (21)2005 (19)2004 (26)2003 (45)2002 (25)

Category Archives: National News

CWD Update

International Updates

Norway

The following release was issued by the Norwegian Veterinary Institute on November 15, 2017 (https://www.vetinst.no/nyheter/surveillance-and-eradication-efforts-towards-cwd):

Surveillance and eradication efforts towards CWD

Surveillance and eradication efforts towards Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Norwegian free-ranging reindeer proceeds. Around 700 animals were taken out during the 2017 hunting season, leaving some 1500 animals to be handled by professionals.

All animals taken out will be tested for CWD by the Norwegian Veterinary Institute. From this, the government will be provided with knowledge of the disease prevalence in the area. Sampling will further give opportunities for research and increased understanding of this severe disease in cervids.

Since the detection of CWD in 2016, Norway has sampled and analysed around 29.000 individuals across the four species; reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus), red deer (Cervus elaphus atlanticus), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and moose (Alces alces). CWD has so far, in November 2017, been detected in eight free-ranging reindeer, three moose and one red deer.

See interview with Jørn Våge, CWD coordinator at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9ztjsVun9Og?rel=0.

State and Provincial Updates

Michigan

The following press release was issued by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on November 17, 2017 (https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MIDNR/bulletins/1c5a081#.Wg80SyzvXiM.facebook):

Federal lab confirms Montcalm County deer has tested positive for chronic wasting disease

– This is second hunter-harvested CWD-positive deer in Montcalm County; three additional suspect positives awaiting confirmation

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced today that the 1.5-year-old buck, harvested last month in Sidney Township (Montcalm County), was confirmed positive for 2

chronic wasting disease by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. This is the 11th case of CWD to be confirmed in a free-ranging deer in Michigan.

Since the harvest of that deer, three additional suspect positive deer – all from Montcalm County, in Pine, Reynolds and Sidney townships – are awaiting confirmation.

“Thank you to these hunters for checking their deer, which is required for these areas. Hunter assistance is critical in the ongoing fight against the spread of CWD,” said Chad Stewart, DNR deer specialist. “The response from hunters so far shows a strong willingness to help, and it’s clear that more hunters are committed to getting their deer tested.”

There are three Core CWD Areas that have mandatory check. To determine if a hunting location is within a mandatory check area, or to find the nearest DNR deer check station, visit michigan.gov/cwd.

“In a short amount of time, without many deer tested from these areas, we are finding more CWD-positive deer,” Stewart said. “This is concerning. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is for hunters from the surrounding areas that are outside of mandatory check locations to have their deer tested, too.”

To date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in humans. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend that infected animals not be consumed as food by either humans or domestic animals.

CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. It is caused by the transmission of infectious, self-multiplying proteins (prions) contained in saliva and other body fluids of infected animals. Susceptible animals can acquire CWD by direct exposure to these fluids, from environments contaminated with these fluids or the carcass of a diseased animal.

To learn more about chronic wasting disease, visit michigan.gov/cwd.

Minnesota

The following press release was issued by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on November 15, 2017 (http://news.dnr.state.mn.us/2017/11/15/7-deer-test-presumptive-positive-in-southeasts-cwd-management-zone/):

7 deer test presumptive positive in southeast’s CWD management zone

– Final results for area 603 expected this week

Preliminary tests show that seven deer harvested in southeastern Minnesota’s disease management zone during the first firearms deer season may be infected with chronic wasting disease. 3

Hunters harvested three of the seven suspect deer near Preston in deer permit area 603, where 11 other deer tested positive during last year’s CWD surveillance efforts. Three others were harvested in Forestville-Mystery Cave State Park, which is still within area 603 but west of the core disease area. The remaining deer was harvested east of Wykoff and north of the park.

Test results from deer permit areas surrounding 603 aren’t yet available and must be analyzed to assess the full extent of the disease and whether or not it has spread outside of the disease management zone.

Once all sampling is completed and test results received, the Department of Natural Resources will follow its CWD response plan and determine next steps, which may include boundary changes to area 603 and additional deer hunting opportunities for the public or landowners.

Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager, said it isn’t clear whether the additional positives indicate a westward expansion of the disease or individual deer movements, given all the presumptive positive deer were adult males.

Testing continues on suspect deer and in 603

CWD testing is a two-step process. The initial tissue sample is analyzed to determine if the animal is presumptive positive. A final test is completed on all presumptive positive samples to confirm if the animal is infected with the disease.

The DNR expects final test results and disease confirmations for all seven deer soon. Those results and any future positives in area 603 will be posted on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwdcheck.

Since the archery deer season began in mid-September, 700 samples have been collected in area 603. Hunters brought in 499 of those samples during the first firearms deer season, which began Nov. 4 and concluded Nov. 12. Results are pending on 40 of those deer.

“The DNR wants to thank hunters who submitted samples over opening weekend,” said Jim Leach, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division director. “Compliance was very high, suggesting hunters view this as a very important issue.”

Hunters are reminded that mandatory testing of all adult deer harvested in area 603 continues throughout the 3B season (which starts Saturday, Nov. 18 and concludes Sunday, Nov. 26), as well during the remaining archery, muzzleloader and late seasons. Check stations are located in Preston and Chatfield.

The DNR also will open voluntary surveillance stations from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 18-19 in Rushford and Houston. The DNR encourages hunters who harvest deer around the disease management zone, in deer permit areas 343, 345, 346, 347, 348 and 349, to participate in voluntary sampling at these locations in order to collect as many samples as possible. 4

Check the DNR’s website, mndnr.gov/cwdcheck, for specific information on check station locations, additional CWD information and DNR efforts to keep Minnesota deer healthy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, to date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people. However, the CDC advises people not to eat meat from animals known to have CWD. Go to www.cdc.gov/prions/cwd for more information.

Montana

The following press release was issued by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks on November 8, 2017 (http://fwp.mt.gov/news/newsReleases/fishAndWildlife/nr_1016.html):

CWD sample comes back suspect, second sample submitted

A chronic wasting disease sample collected by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in late October from a hunter-killed deer was found to be suspect for chronic wasting disease.

The sample was collected from a mule deer buck harvested in hunting district 510 south of Billings. The animal was killed in an area with a mixture of private and public land 10 miles southeast of Bridger. A second sample collected from the animal is being sent to the lab at Colorado State University for further testing, with results expected next week. If the result is positive, it will mark the first time CWD has appeared in wild deer, elk or moose in Montana.

FWP has notified the hunter who submitted the suspect sample and landowners in the area where the deer was harvested. Though typically it takes one sample test to determine whether an animal is positive for CWD, that wasn’t the case here. Though the sample is considered suspect at this point, it is very rare that a suspect sample isn’t ultimately found positive. Therefore, FWP is moving forward as if the deer will ultimately be determined positive for CWD.

“We’ve suspected it wasn’t a matter of if, but when CWD would show up in Montana,” said Ken McDonald, FWP wildlife division administrator. “Fortunately, we’ve done a lot of work to prepare for this, and are hopeful the prevalence will be low as we work toward managing the disease.”

FWP has recently updated its CWD response plan, which was presented to the Fish and Wildlife Commission on Tuesday and is now open for public comment.

In accordance with the response plan, FWP director Martha Williams assembled an incident command team to respond to the detection. The incident command team will define an initial response area (IRA) around where the infected animal was harvested, and may recommend a special CWD hunt. The specifics of this hunt would be determined by the incident command team. 5

The goal of a special CWD hunt would be to collect enough samples to determine disease prevalence and distribution. CWD can only be effectively detected in samples from dead animals. FWP would rely on hunters to harvest enough animals to make these determinations.

CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. It is part of a group of diseases called Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs). TSEs are caused by infectious, mis-folded prion proteins, which cause normal prion proteins throughout a healthy animal’s body to mis-fold, resulting in organ damage and eventual death.

CWD is a slow-moving disease. However, left unmanaged, it could result in long-term population declines within affected herds. All the states and provinces that border Montana, other than Idaho and British Columbia, have found CWD in their wild cervids. The closest positive to Montana was in Wyoming, about 8 miles south of the Montana border and less than 50 miles southeast of where Montana’s suspect deer was harvested.

Though there is no evidence CWD is transmissible to humans, it is recommended to never ingest meat from animals that appear to be sick or are known to be CWD positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters who have harvested a deer, elk, or moose from a known CWD-infected area have the animal tested prior to consuming it. If hunters harvest an animal that appears to be sick, the best thing to do is contact FWP and have the animal inspected.

Some simple precautions should be taken when field dressing deer, elk or moose:

 Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when field dressing.

 Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.

 Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.

 Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. (Normal field dressing coupled with boning out of a carcass will essentially remove all of these parts.)

FWP is currently in year one of a revamped CWD surveillance program. Department staff are collecting CWD samples from hunters in this year’s priority area of south central Montana. Most samples are collected from game check stations and cooperating meat processors and taxidermists. Hunters who submit a sample will receive a card with a sample number. That number can be checked online along with the list of results at fwp.mt.gov/CWD.

Should this suspect sample be determined to be positive, FWP will move quickly to communicate with local landowners, government agencies and the public about plans for a special hunt. The success of any CWD hunt will depend largely on the cooperation from everyone involved.

In the meantime, FWP will be encouraging all hunters harvesting deer within that area (hunting districts 502 and 510) to get them sampled. This can be done by visiting the Laurel check station, 6

which is open on weekends, or by contacting or visiting the FWP regional office in Billings at 406-247-2940.

For more information and to look at test results, go online to fwp.mt.gov/cwd.

Note: Confirmation testing results were released on November 15, 2017: http://fwp.mt.gov/news/newsReleases/fishAndWildlife/nr_1019.html.

The following press release was issued by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks on November 14, 2017 (http://fwp.mt.gov/news/newsReleases/fishAndWildlife/nr_1018.html):

Second deer found suspect for CWD

A second mule deer buck from hunting district 510 was found to be suspect for chronic wasting disease.

This buck was harvested about 3 miles south of Belfry. A second sample from the buck is being tested by the lab at Colorado State University, with results expected next week. This is the second mule deer to be found suspect for CWD within the last week.

Last Tuesday, FWP got word that a sample from a buck harvested about 10 southeast of Bridger was found to be suspect for CWD. A second sample from the buck is being tested to see if the animal is indeed CWD positive.

In response to the initial detection, FWP director Martha Williams created an incident command team. The incident command team is being led by Barb Beck, FWP Region 5 supervisor.

FWP has notified the hunter who submitted the new suspect sample. Much of the area where the animal was harvested is public land.

CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. It is a slow-moving disease. However, left unmanaged, it could result in long-term population declines within affected herds.

Though there is no evidence CWD is transmissible to humans, it is recommended to never ingest meat from animals that appear to be sick or are known to be CWD positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters who have harvested a deer, elk, or moose from a known CWD-infected area have the animal tested prior to consuming it. If hunters harvest an animal that appears to be sick, the best thing to do is contact FWP and have the animal inspected.

Some simple precautions should be taken when field dressing deer, elk or moose:

 Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when field dressing.

 Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.

 Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.

 Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. (Normal field dressing coupled with boning out of a carcass will essentially remove these parts.)

Montana hunters need to remember that Montana law prohibits the import of heads and spinal columns of deer, elk or moose harvested in states or provinces that have CWD in wild or captive populations.

Out of state hunters should check their state’s carcass transport restrictions since Montana is now a CWD positive state. Hunters should also dispose of carcass waste in a Class II landfill. Disposing of carcass waste on the landscape is considered littering and it may facilitate the spread of CWD.

Additionally, hunters who are concerned about whether the deer, elk or moose they harvest is infected with CWD should have the animal tested. If the animal was harvested in the priority surveillance area, the sampling can be done at a check station within the area or at the FWP Region 3 office in Bozeman or the Region 5 office in Billings. If the animal is harvested outside the area, hunters can follow the directions on the web at fwp.mt.gov/CWD to take and submit their own samples for testing.

The area where both suspect samples were discovered is part of the FWP priority CWD surveillance area. FWP staff are collecting samples from hunter harvested deer in south central Montana hunting districts. Most samples are collected at check stations and hunters receive a card with a sample number. FWP is encouraging hunters who harvest deer in within the priority CWD surveillance area, and especially hunting districts 502 and 510, to submit their animals for testing. If this is not done at a check station, hunters can call the FWP Region 5 office in Billings at 406-247-2940.

FWP has recently updated its CWD response plan, which is open for public comment. In accordance with the response plan the incident command team will define an initial response area around where the infected animals were harvested, and may recommend a special CWD hunt. The specifics of this hunt would be determined by the incident command team.

The goal of a special CWD hunt would be to collect enough samples to determine disease prevalence and distribution. The most efficient and cost-effective way to test for CWD is by collecting samples from harvested animals. FWP would rely on hunters to harvest enough animals to make these determinations.

For more information, look online at fwp.mt.gov/CWD

Wisconsin

The following press release was issued by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) on November 10, 2017 (https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WIDATCP/bulletins/1c3d998):

DATCP quarantines Iowa County deer breeding farm after connection to Waupaca County hunting ranch CWD investigation

MADISON – Confirmation of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in two white-tailed deer shot on a hunting ranch in Waupaca County has led to another farm in Iowa County being quarantined, Wisconsin State Veterinarian Dr. Paul McGraw announced today. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the test results today.

The bucks, both 4 years old, were killed on the 84-acre hunting ranch in Waupaca, but originated from a 15-acre breeding farm in Mineral Point, Wisconsin that contains 110 white-tailed deer, according to the owner’s most recent registration records. Both deer were natural additions to the breeding farm and were moved to the Waupaca hunting ranch in September of this year.

Neither animal reportedly showed clinical signs of CWD. Both were sampled in accordance with Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s (DATCP’s) rules, which require testing of deer that die or are killed on a hunting ranch.

McGraw placed a quarantine on the Iowa County farm, which allows live deer to move by special permit only to the Waupaca hunting ranch; the Waupaca hunting ranch is already quarantined because of previous findings of CWD.

The DATCP Animal Health Division will continue the investigation into each animal’s history and trace movements of deer to determine whether other herds may have been exposed to the CWD test-positive deer.

The following press release was issued by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on November 14, 2017 (http://dnr.wi.gov/news/releases/article/?id=4382):

Baiting and feeding ban will begin Dec. 1, 2017 for Monroe County after positive CWD detection confirmed in Vernon County

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has received confirmation that a wild deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease in northeastern Vernon County which already has a prohibition on baiting and feeding due to a previous detection in the area. As required by law, this finding will initiate a baiting and feeding ban for Monroe County, effective Dec. 1, 2017. Since Monroe County is adjacent to a county with a CWD positive test result, the ban will be in place for a 2-year period however individuals interested in baiting or feeding deer should know that if any additional positive test results occur over the next two years, the ban will be extended accordingly. 9

The 1-year-old doe was harvested in Greenwood township and is the first confirmed positive in Vernon County. To find out if the disease is present in other wild deer in the area, the DNR will conduct disease surveillance within a 10-mile radius around the positive location.

State law requires that the Wisconsin DNR enact a ban on feeding and baiting of deer in counties or portions of counties within a 10-mile radius of a captive or free-roaming domestic or wild animal that tests positive for CWD or tuberculosis. The two-year baiting and feeding ban will take effect for Monroe County beginning Dec. 1, 2017.

Since baiting and feeding is already prohibited in Vernon County, this finding re-starts the clock on a three-year baiting and feeding ban there due to this CWD detection.

For more information regarding baiting and feeding regulations and CWD in Wisconsin, visit the department’s website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keywords “bait” and “CWD” respectively.

Wyoming

The following press release was issued by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department on November 15, 2017 (https://wgfd.wyo.gov/News/CWD-found-in-deer-hunt-area-near-Meeteetse):

CWD found in deer hunt area near Meeteetse

Cheyenne – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department diagnosed chronic wasting disease (CWD) for the first time in Deer Hunt Area 118 near Meeteetse, Wyoming. The Game and Fish Wildlife Health Laboratory confirmed CWD in a buck white-tailed deer harvested by a hunter on Nov. 3 near Gooseberry Creek.

Deer Hunt Area 118 is bordered on three sides by hunt areas where CWD has been found previously. A map of the CWD endemic areas is available on the Game and Fish website.

For many years Game and Fish has been asking hunters to help with monitoring the disease by getting their harvested animals tested. Game and Fish also shares the CDC recommendation that hunters should consider getting their animals tested if harvested in a known CWD endemic area and not to consume any animal that is obviously ill or tests positive for CWD.

Last year, Game and Fish personnel collected and tested more than 3,350 CWD samples throughout the state, a significant increase from past years. This year Game and Fish will sample a similar number.

Please visit the Game and Fish website for more information on chronic wasting disease transmission and regulations on transportation and disposal of carcasses.

Recent Publications

Chronic Wasting Disease Prion Strain Emergence and Host Range Expansion

Allen Herbst, Camilo Duque Velásquez, Elizabeth Triscott, Judd M. Aiken, and Debbie McKenzie

Emerg Infect Dis. 2017;23(9):1598-1600. https://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2309.161474

Abstract:

Human and mouse prion proteins share a structural motif that regulates resistance to common chronic wasting disease (CWD) prion strains. Successful transmission of an emergent strain of CWD prion, H95+, into mice resulted in infection. Thus, emergent CWD prion strains may have higher zoonotic potential than common strains.

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/23/9/16-1474_article

Assessment of CWD prion shedding in deer saliva with occupancy modeling

Kristen A. Davenport, Brittany A. Mosher, Brian M. Brost, Davin M. Henderson, Nathaniel D. Denkers, Amy V. Nalls, Erin McNulty, Candace K. Mathiason and Edward A. Hoover

J. Clin. Microbiol. doi:10.1128/JCM.01243-17

Abstract:

Detection of prions is difficult due to the peculiarity of the pathogen, which is a misfolded form of a normal protein. The specificity and sensitivity of detection methods are imperfect in complex samples, including excreta. Here, we combined optimized prion amplification procedures with a statistical method that accounts for false positive and false negative errors to test deer saliva for chronic wasting disease (CWD) prions. This approach enabled us to discriminate shedding of prions in saliva and detection of prions in saliva — a distinction crucial to understanding the role of prion shedding in disease transmission and for diagnosis. We found that assay sensitivity and specificity were indeed imperfect, and we were able to draw several conclusions pertinent to CWD biology from our analyses: (1) shedding of prions in saliva increases with time post-inoculation, but is common throughout the pre-clinical phase of disease; (2) shedding propensity is influenced neither by sex nor by prion protein genotype at codon 96; and (3) the source of prion-containing inoculum used to infect deer affects the likelihood of prion shedding in saliva — oral inoculation of deer with CWD(+) saliva resulted in 2.77 times the likelihood of prion shedding in saliva compared to inoculation with CWD(+) brain. These results are pertinent to horizontal CWD transmission in wild cervids. Moreover, the approach described is applicable to other diagnostic assays with imperfect detection.

http://jcm.asm.org/content/early/2017/11/02/JCM.01243-17.abstract

 

Key Sportsman Groups Endorse Rep. Kind’s Bipartisan Bill to Manage and Prevent the Spread of Chronic Wasting Disease

 

La Crosse, WI – Today, key sportsman groups endorsed Rep. Kind’s bipartisan Chronic Wasting Disease Management Act. The bill will support state and tribal efforts to develop and implement management strategies as well as support research regarding the causes of chronic wasting disease and methods to control the further spread of the disease. CWD positive deer have been found in or within 10 miles of Grant, Vernon, Crawford, Richland, Monroe, Juneau, Adams, Portage, and Wood counties.

Below are comments from groups who have endorsed the bill: 

Wisconsin Wildlife Federation

“The funding and help with research outlined in Reps. Kind and Sensenbrenner’s legislation would give the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources the kind of support it needs as it grapples with the spread of chronic wasting disease in the state,” said George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation. “Wisconsin’s deer herds are critically important to the state’s more than 600,000 gun hunters and 225,000 bow hunters. They represent an estimated $1 billion in annual economic benefits for the state.”

Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation

“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has long recognized that increased attention to, and funding for, regular screening and testing of cervids at the state level is necessary to ensure a timely response is possible in the event of a Chronic Wasting Disease outbreak,” said Brent Miller CSF’s Senior Director, Northeastern States. “We commend the leadership of Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus member, Congressman Kind, and Congressman Sensenbrenner on this critical wildlife management issue.”

National Wildlife Federation

“Chronic Wasting Disease poses a grave threat to North America’s deer, elk, and moose herds, and the hunters and communities that depend on them,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Yet as this terrible disease spreads rapidly across our country, it’s received neither the urgent attention nor sufficient resources from Washington to combat it. That is about to change thanks to the leadership of two great sportsmen, Representatives Ron Kind and Jim Sensenbrenner, who understand how serious this threat and why immediate action is needed. The National Wildlife Federation enthusiastically supports their bill to provide states and tribes the support required to respond to this critical threat to America’s wildlife.”

Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance

“In the last decade, while CWD has relentlessly spread to new areas and increased in prevalence, the funding and resources to fight it have dwindled,” said Matt Dunfee, Program Coordinator for the CWD Alliance. “Given that CWD may pose the greatest risk to the sustainability of North America’s deer, elk, and moose populations, it is beyond vital that we ramp up the funding and resources needed to manage this disease. This proposed legislation goes a long way in getting the wildlife management community the tools they need to fight CWD at a level appropriate to the severity of the disease.”

National Deer Alliance

“At the North American Deer Summit, held earlier this year in Austin, TX, the states represented made it clear that more funding was needed for CWD monitoring and research. We are glad that our coalition of conservation groups was able to work with Congressman Kind and Congressman Sensenbrenner to craft this important legislation,” said the National Deer Alliance.

Quality Deer Management Association

“The importance of healthy white-tailed deer populations to the future of wildlife conservation and our hunting heritage cannot be overemphasized,” said QDMA CEO Brian Murphy.  “Expenditures by whitetail hunters account for nearly half of the entire U.S. hunting economy which employs nearly 500,000 Americans, contributes tens of billions to our economy, and funds significant portions of state wildlife agency budgets for both game and nongame species.”

Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies

“Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disease that affects members of the deer family, and may be one of the biggest challenges in modern wildlife conservation history,” stated Virgil Moore, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Director of Idaho Fish and Game. “This legislative package, if passed, will move forward and strengthen state and tribal chronic wasting disease management strategies by providing critical funding to help protect our nation’s wildlife.”

With 88% of Wisconsin’s 763,384 hunters participating in deer hunting and an economic impact of $2.5 billion, it is critical that action is taken to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease.

The bill is co-sponsored by Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI). It has three main components.

  • Authorizing funding to state and tribal agencies responsible for wildlife management to implement management strategies to address CWD.
  • Directing USDA to make grants to expand and accelerate applied research on CWD.
  • Directing USDA and the Department of Interior to work cooperatively with the states to conduct research and implement state CWD response plans to reduce the spread and prevalence of the disease.

CWD Update

 

 

State and Provincial Updates

Wisconsin

The following press release was issued by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) on October 20, 2017 (https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/News_Media/WaupacaCWDPositive20171020.aspx):

CWD-positive white-tailed deer found on Waupaca County hunting ranch

MADISON – Two white-tailed deer from a hunting ranch in Waupaca County have 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 bucks, ages 2 and 3 years, were part of the 40 deer reported to be on the 84-acre ranch, according to the owner’s most recent registration. One buck was hunter killed and the other was euthanized due to an injury. Neither animal showed clinical signs of CWD. Both were sampled 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.

McGraw quarantined three properties under the same ownership, which allows movement of deer between ranches and to slaughter, but stops movement of live deer to anywhere else. The business will be allowed to conduct hunts on the quarantined ranches because properly handled dead animals leaving the premises do not pose a disease risk.

The DATCP Animal Health Division will initiate an investigation that examines the animal’s history and trace movements of deer to determine whether other herds may have been exposed to the CWD test-positive deer.

The following press release was issued by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) on October 3, 2017 (https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/News_Media/20171003CWDPosShawano.aspx):

CWD-positive white-tailed deer found on Shawano County hunting ranch

MADISON – A white-tailed deer from a hunting ranch in Shawano 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 3-year-old Shawano County buck was one of about 245 deer reported to be on the 481-acre ranch, according to the owner’s most recent registration. The deer was born on a Wilderness Game Farm, Inc. breeding facility in May 2014 and transferred to the hunting ranch in Shawano County in September 2015.

Samples were taken from the deer 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.

McGraw quarantined the Shawano County herd and its related breeding farm in Waupaca County, which allows movement of deer from the breeding farm to the ranch and to slaughter, but stops movement of live deer to anywhere else. The business will be allowed to conduct hunts on the quarantined ranch because properly handled dead animals leaving the premises do not pose a disease risk.

The DATCP Animal Health Division will initiate an investigation that examines the animal’s history and trace movements of deer onto and off the property to determine whether other herds may have been exposed to the CWD test-positive deer.

Additional information regarding the Farm-Raised Deer Program in Wisconsin, including CWD requirements, is available from DATCP at: https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Programs_Services/FarmRaisedDeer.aspx.

Michigan

The following press release was issued by the Michigan Department of Natural resources on October 24, 2017 (http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10366_54559_10402-450578–,00.html):

Another Montcalm County deer suspected to have CWD

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced today that a second hunter-harvested deer in Montcalm County is suspected positive for chronic wasting disease. A sample has been sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, for confirmation. If confirmed positive, the 1.5-year-old buck, harvested in Sidney Township, would be the 11th free-ranging deer in Michigan found to have CWD.

“The fact that we already have another positive deer within Montcalm County is of major concern,” said Dr. Kelly Straka, DNR state wildlife veterinarian. “We strongly recommend hunters who harvest deer in Montcalm County have their deer tested. Deer with CWD can look perfectly healthy even though they are infected.”

To date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in humans. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend that infected animals not be consumed as food by either humans or domestic animals.

Since May 2015 when the first CWD deer was found, the DNR has tested more than 15,000 deer. Thus far, 10 cases of CWD have been confirmed in free-ranging white-tailed deer from Clinton, Ingham and Montcalm counties.

As additional deer have tested positive for CWD within Michigan, the DNR has put specific regulations in place. This deer was harvested in the Montcalm-Kent Core CWD Area, which includes Maple Valley, Pine, Douglass, Montcalm, Sidney, Eureka, and Fairplain townships in Montcalm County; and Spencer and Oakfield townships in Kent County. Starting Nov. 15, this nine-township area will have mandatory deer check.

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. It is caused by the transmission of infectious, self-multiplying proteins (prions) contained in saliva and other body fluids of infected animals. Susceptible animals can acquire CWD by direct exposure to these fluids, from environments contaminated with these fluids, or from the carcass of a diseased animal.

Some CWD-infected animals will display abnormal behaviors, progressive weight loss and physical debilitation; however, deer can be infected for many years without showing internal or external symptoms. There is no cure; once a deer is infected with CWD, it will die.

To learn more about CWD, visit mi.gov/cwd.

Texas

The following press release was issued by the Texas Animal Health Commission on October 18, 2017 (http://www.tahc.state.tx.us/news/2017/2017-10-18_CWDElk.pdf):

Medina County Elk Tests Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease

Austin, TX – Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) officials have confirmed Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in an elk located within the South-Central Texas CWD Zone. The elk was harvested on a high-fenced premises with common management as a property where white- tailed deer were previously confirmed to have CWD.

This case was detected as part of the ranch’s herd management plan, which was developed by TAHC to assess the ranch’s risk of CWD.

CWD has been found in free-ranging elk across the United States, including New Mexico and Colorado. This is the second known elk in Texas to test positive for CWD. The first CWD positive elk in Texas was a free-ranging elk harvested in Dallam County on December 6, 2016.

Due to CWD being found in white-tailed deer, mule deer and elk, TAHC established movement and surveillance requirements for exotics in CWD Zones and statewide on May 30, 2017. Statewide surveillance requires all eligible mortalities of exotic CWD susceptible species be tested until such time that three animals are tested. Please note that for CWD Surveillance and Containment Zones, all exotic CWD susceptible species hunter harvested must be tested. To learn more about the TAHC exotic CWD susceptible species statewide surveillance and movement requirements, visit http://www.tahc.texas.gov/news/2017/2017-05- 30_CommissionMeeting.pdf. For more information about CWD regulations within CWD Zones, visit https://tpwd.texas.gov/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_bk_w7000_1942.pdf.

CWD was first recognized in 1967 in captive mule deer in Colorado. The first case of CWD in Texas was discovered in 2012 in free-ranging mule deer in an isolated area of far West Texas. The disease has since been detected in a total of 15 free-ranging mule deer, 1 free-ranging elk, this elk located on a high-fenced property, 1 free-ranging white-tailed deer, and in 5 white-tailed deer breeding operations located in Medina/Uvalde and Lavaca counties. For a full list of CWD positives in Texas, visit https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/diseases/cwd/tracking/#texasCWD.

CWD is a progressive, fatal disease of cervids 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. CWD is not known to affect humans, however, recent studies suggest there may be a risk to non-human primates that consume CWD infected meat, therefore, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend not to consume meat from infected animals.

For more information about CWD please visit http://www.tahc.texas.gov/animal_health/cwd/cwd.html and http://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/diseases/cwd/.

The following press release was issued by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on May 15, 2017 (http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/releases/?req=20170515a):

New CWD Case Discovered at Fifth Captive Deer Breeding Facility

Austin – A case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been validated in a captive white-tailed deer at another breeding facility in Medina County. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) are conducting an epidemiological investigation into this new case.

The latest finding is from a 3 ½ – year-old buck that underwent a live test rectal biopsy for CWD conducted in March by the deer breeder. Tissue samples revealed the presence of CWD prions during testing at the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) in College Station. TAHC and TPWD were notified by TVMDL of a suspect positive on May 1. The samples were then submitted to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, which validated the suspect findings on May 9.

TAHC and TPWD are working with the breeder to develop a CWD herd plan.

The facility is in the immediate vicinity of two positive deer breeding facilities/release sites and one low fence ranch where CWD was detected in a free-ranging deer. The latest discovery marks the 50th confirmed positive case of CWD in Texas since 2012. 5

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.

Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture issues the following press release on August 11, 2017 (http://www.media.pa.gov/pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=579):

Bedford County Captive Deer Herd Tests Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture today announced that 27 deer from a Bedford County deer farm have tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD. The department quarantined the herd on February 16, 2017, after a white-tailed deer on the farm died. The deer subsequently tested positive for the disease.

Deer in the quarantined herd of 215 showed no signs of illness. To prevent further spread of the disease, officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services, USDA Wildlife Services and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture depopulated, or euthanized, the herd on June 20, 2017. USDA provided financial compensation to the farm owner for the loss of the herd.

“We are working directly with captive-deer herd managers to educate them on risk factors and to do whatever possible to safeguard their herds,” State Veterinarian Dr. David Wolfgang said. “Increased surveillance both in and outside fences is paramount, along with employing management strategies, such as uniformly restricting movement of high-risk parts, managing the density and age of captive herds, and considering secondary barriers to prevent direct contact between captive and wild deer.”

The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa conducted the testing and reported results to the department and USDA on August 7, 2017. In addition, research samples were collected and submitted to the USDA Cervid Herd Health Team for additional testing to better understand the disease and to help validate live-animal testing methods in the future. Currently, the only accurate test for CWD is post-mortem testing of the brainstem and lymph nodes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no strong evidence that humans or livestock can contract Chronic Wasting Disease.

The disease attacks the brains of infected deer, elk and moose, producing small lesions that eventually result in death. Animals can get the disease through direct contact with saliva, feces and urine from an infected animal.

Clinical signs include weight loss, excessive salivation, increased drinking and urination, and abnormal behavior like stumbling, trembling and depression. Infected deer and elk also may allow unusually close approach by humans or natural predators. The disease is fatal and there is no known treatment or vaccine.

The first cases of CWD in Pennsylvania were detected when two Adams County deer tested positive for CWD in 2012. Since then, 40 captive deer and 60 wild deer have tested positive in the state. Surveillance for the disease has been ongoing in Pennsylvania since 1998.

The department coordinates a mandatory surveillance program for more than 21,000 captive deer on 1,000 breeding farms, hobby farms and hunting preserves. Prior to this herd, 13 captive deer had tested positive since 2012, with three positive tests earlier this year.

For more information, visit agriculture.pa.gov and search “Chronic Wasting Disease.”

Minnesota

The following press release was issued by the Minnesota Board of Animal Health on May 17, 2017 (https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MNBAH/bulletins/19b39dd):

Four more farmed white-tailed deer test positive for Chronic Wasting Disease

– Part of disease tracing effort reaching back to 2016 Crow Wing County case

St. Paul – In late April, the Board of Animal Health and United States Department of Agriculture euthanized a quarantined herd of 14 white-tailed deer in Meeker County. Samples collected from the animals were tested at the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa and four deer were confirmed CWD positive on May 15. This herd was part of an investigation initiated with a CWD infected farmed deer herd found in Crow Wing County late last year.

The Board shared the test results with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which responds to and manages CWD in wild deer. The Board works with the USDA as it investigates and regulates CWD in farmed deer. The owner agreed to euthanize the animals and test them for CWD as part of a herd plan developed between the USDA, the Board and the owner after finding a trace animal in the herd was positive for CWD in January of this year.

The herd plan also includes tracing animal movements into and out of this herd within the last five years. This tracing revealed two of the four CWD positive animals came from a Wright County deer farm as fawns in 2014. The Wright County farm has also been placed under quarantine as of May 15. 7

“This emphasizes the need for a strong CWD surveillance program in our captive deer and elk. Although these animals appeared healthy, they were infected with CWD and would have continued to spread the disease if they remained alive. CWD testing all deer and elk that die or are killed on a producer’s property is critical to the program,” said Board Assistant Director, Dr. Linda Glaser. “We quarantined the Wright County herd after discovering two of the four CWD positives originated there, but that herd is not considered infected. Herd movements are restricted, and the herd will be closely monitored until 2019.”

The Meeker County farm is empty and remains quarantined for all deer and elk species, and fences remain in place to keep wild deer off of the site. The next step is to clean and disinfect as much of the herd enclosures as possible. When that is complete, the property will remain quarantined for a period of five years.

CWD is a disease of deer and elk caused by an abnormally shaped protein, a prion, which can damage brain and nerve tissue. There is no danger to other animal species. The disease is most likely transmitted when infected deer and elk shed prions in saliva, feces, urine, and other fluids or tissues. The disease is always fatal, and there are no known treatments or vaccines. CWD is not known to affect humans, though consuming infected meat is not advised.

Wyoming

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department issued the following press release on September 25, 2017 (https://wgfd.wyo.gov/News/Information-on-chronic-wasting-disease-for-hunters):

Information on chronic wasting disease for hunters available from Game and Fish and human health agencies

– CWD also found in new deer hunt area south of Gillette

Cheyenne – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is reminding hunters that chronic wasting disease (CWD), a fatal disease caused by prions that impacts deer, elk, and moose has been documented across much of Wyoming. A prion is a protein that can cause a disease where normal proteins in the brain fold abnormally. More CWD information is available online from the Game and Fish and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For several years Game and Fish has been asking hunters to help with monitoring of the disease by getting their harvested animals tested. Game and Fish also shares the CDC recommendation that hunters should strongly consider getting their animals tested if they are harvested in a known CWD endemic area. “Game and Fish really appreciates all hunters who submit samples and we want the public to know what human health agencies have to say about the disease, including recommendations on not consuming meat from a CWD-positive animal. The public plays a very important role in taking on CWD,” said Scott Edberg, deputy chief of the Wildlife Division. “We, in turn, try to provide current information to the public including maps of the CWD endemic areas on our website.” Because CWD has moved into Wyoming’s western areas, Game and Fish puts extra focus on that area and asks hunters to bring in their harvested deer, elk or moose for sampling to get a better understanding of CWD presence and distribution by species and prevalence rates. To submit a sample, hunters have several options:

 Game and Fish check stations – these are established throughout the state during big game seasons.

 In the field – when in contact with a game warden, wildlife biologist, or other employee who are collecting CWD samples.

 Wyoming State Veterinary Lab – Hunters wishing to have their animal tested outside the Department’s monitoring program may contact the Wyoming State Veterinary Lab in Laramie for details and cost. The telephone number is (307) 766‐9925.

 Select meat processors and taxidermists – in certain locations during opening day or few days after seasons open, a Game and Fish employee is present at some of these businesses. Availability varies greatly across the state.

 Game and Fish regional offices – in many cases if a hunter stops at a Game and Fish office to get a CWD sample collected, the hunter may have to leave the head at the office until such time a warden or biologist is available to take the sample as they are in the field a majority of the hunting season. But, stop by to check or call first to see what arrangements can be made.

 Hunters can collect a CWD sample themselves and bring it to a Game and Fish region office. Watch a video of how to collect this sample. To submit, hunters will need to bring their hunting license and know the location where the animal was harvested.

Game and Fish cautions that the testing program is not focused on ensuring meat quality. Game and Fish supports the CDC recommendations that the public not eat any animal that is obviously ill or tests positive for CWD. Game and Fish also urges hunters to wear rubber or latex gloves as a general precaution against all diseases when field dressing an animal. CWD has now been in found in Deer Hunt Area 19, which is southwest of Gillette. The local warden removed a buck mule deer and had it sampled and it came back positive for CWD. “There are some tips that Game and Fish offers on the best ways to make sure hunters submit a usable CWD sample,” Edberg said. “We need need the unfrozen and unrotten – fresher the better – head of any deer, elk or moose with the upper portion of the neck attached. The sampling process takes about 5-10 minutes.” Game and Fish will also ask for the hunt area and a specific location where the harvest occurred. If a sample submitted to Game and Fish’s CWD surveillance program tests positive and adequate contact information is provided, the hunter will be notified of the positive test result. Hunters who participate in Game and Fish’s CWD surveillance program by providing deer, elk, or moose tissue samples and provide adequate information, can obtain their test results at: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/services/education/cwd/surveillance/frmlookup.aspx.

For more information about CWD in Wyoming, visit the Game and Fish website. For more information about CWD in North America, visit the CWD Alliance website.

Alberta

Alberta Environment and Parks issued the following surveillance update on April 20, 2017 (http://aep.alberta.ca/fish-wildlife/wildlife-diseases/chronic-wasting-disease/cwd-updates/default.aspx):

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Surveillance Update: 2016/17 Final

We have completed the heads received to date from the 2016/17 hunting seasons. A total of 5112 heads were tested since September 1, 2016, and we detected CWD in 179 animals (3.5%; up from 2.4% in 2015/16). The positives included 178 deer (154 mule deer, 23 white-tail, 1 unknown deer; 136 males, 41 females, 1 unknown gender) and 1 male elk. As in previous years the majority of cases (119 of 179; 66%) were mule deer bucks.

Also as in previous years, species- and gender-specific differences are apparent in the surveillance data. In the 4944 heads that were suitable for determining disease status, CWD was detected in:

 5.4% of 2833 mule deer

 1.5% of 1494 white-tailed deer

 0.2% of 431 elk (primarily from CFB Suffield)

 0 of 176 moose (primarily from CFB Wainwright)

In the 4312 deer for which gender/sex was reported, CWD was detected in:

 8.1% of 1473 male mule deer

 2.6% of 1349 female mule deer

 1.7% of 1071 male whitetails

 1.3% of 473 female whitetails

The disease continues to expand further westward into central Alberta. In the 2016/17 surveillance sample, CWD was again detected beyond the known range in the province (further up the Red Deer River in Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 158, in WMU 230 in the Battle River watershed, in WMU 254 in the Vermilion River watershed).

These units are adjacent to previous cases and indicate further geographic spread of CWD along major waterways. However, the finding of CWD in a white-tailed deer in WMU 250 northeast of Fort Saskatchewan is a significant westward extension of the known occurrence in the North Saskatchewan River watershed.

We also detected CWD in a bull elk from WMU 732 (Canadian Forces Base Suffield). Since 2012, we tested 1973 elk from WMU 732 and this is the first one found to have CWD (0.05%). 10

The disease is well established in mule deer and white-tailed deer in areas outside the military base along the Red Deer and South Saskatchewan rivers.

The complete Alberta surveillance update, including graphics, is available at: http://aep.alberta.ca/fish-wildlife/wildlife-diseases/chronic-wasting-disease/cwd-updates/default.aspx.

Recent Publications

Endemic chronic wasting disease causes mule deer population decline in Wyoming

Melia T. DeVivo, David R. Edmunds, Matthew J. Kauffman, Brant A. Schumaker, Justin Binfet, Terry J. Kreeger, Bryan J. Richards, Hermann M. Schätzl, Todd E. Cornish

PLoS ONE12(10): e0186512. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0186512

Abstract:

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal transmissible spongiform encephalopathy affecting white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni), and moose (Alces alces shirasi) in North America. In southeastern Wyoming average annual CWD prevalence in mule deer exceeds 20% and appears to contribute to regional population declines. We determined the effect of CWD on mule deer demography using age-specific, female-only, CWD transition matrix models to estimate the population growth rate (λ. Mule deer were captured from 2010–2014 in southern Converse County Wyoming, USA. Captured adult (≥1.5 years old) deer were tested ante-mortem for CWD using tonsil biopsies and monitored using radio telemetry. Mean annual survival rates of CWD-negative and CWD-positive deer were 0.76 and 0.32, respectively. Pregnancy and fawn recruitment were not observed to be influenced by CWD. We estimated λ= 0.79, indicating an annual population decline of 21% under current CWD prevalence levels. A model derived from the demography of only CWD-negative individuals yielded; λ= 1.00, indicating a stable population if CWD were absent. These findings support CWD as a significant contributor to mule deer population decline. Chronic wasting disease is difficult or impossible to eradicate with current tools, given significant environmental contamination, and at present our best recommendation for control of this disease is to minimize spread to new areas and naïve cervid populations.

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0186512

Experimental transmission of the Chronic Wasting Disease agent to swine after oral or intracranial inoculation

  1. Jo Moore, M. Heather West Greenlee, Naveen Kondru, Sireesha Manne, Jodi D. Smith, Robert A. Kunkle, Anumantha Kanthasamy, Justin J. Greenlee

Journal of Virology 91:e00926-17. https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00926-17

Abstract:

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a naturally occurring, fatal neurodegenerative disease of cervids. The potential for swine to serve as hosts for the agent of CWD is unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the susceptibility of swine to the CWD agent following experimental oral or intracranial inoculation. Crossbred piglets were assigned to three groups, intracranially inoculated (n = 20), orally inoculated (n = 19), and noninoculated (n = 9). At approximately the age at which commercial pigs reach market weight, half of the pigs in each group were culled (“market weight” groups). The remaining pigs (“aged” groups) were allowed to incubate for up to 73 months postinoculation (mpi). Tissues collected at necropsy were examined for disease-associated prion protein (PrPSc) by Western blotting (WB), antigen capture enzyme immunoassay (EIA), immunohistochemistry (IHC), and in vitro real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC). Brain samples from selected pigs were also bioassayed in mice expressing porcine prion protein. Four intracranially inoculated aged pigs and one orally inoculated aged pig were positive by EIA, IHC, and/or WB. By RT-QuIC, PrPSc was detected in lymphoid and/or brain tissue from one or more pigs in each inoculated group. The bioassay was positive in four out of five pigs assayed. This study demonstrates that pigs can support low-level amplification of CWD prions, although the species barrier to CWD infection is relatively high. However, detection of infectivity in orally inoculated pigs with a mouse bioassay raises the possibility that naturally exposed pigs could act as a reservoir of CWD infectivity.

http://jvi.asm.org/content/91/19/e00926-17

Pathways of prion spread during early Chronic Wasting Disease in deer

Clare E. Hoover, Kristen A. Davenport, Davin M. Henderson, Nathaniel D. Denkers, Candace K. Mathiason, Claudio Soto, Mark D. Zabel, Edward A. Hoover

Journal of Virology 91:e00077-17. https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00077-17

Abstract:

Among prion infections, two scenarios of prion spread are generally observed: (i) early lymphoid tissue replication or (ii) direct neuroinvasion without substantial antecedent lymphoid amplification. In nature, cervids are infected with chronic wasting disease (CWD) prions by oral and nasal mucosal exposure, and studies of early CWD pathogenesis have implicated pharyngeal lymphoid tissue as the earliest sites of prion accumulation. However, knowledge of chronological events in prion spread during early infection remains incomplete. To investigate this knowledge gap in early CWD pathogenesis, we exposed white-tailed deer to CWD prions by mucosal routes and performed serial necropsies to assess PrPCWD tissue distribution by real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) and tyramide signal amplification immunohistochemistry (TSA-IHC). Although PrPCWD was not detected by either method in the initial days (1 and 3) postexposure, we observed PrPCWD seeding activity and follicular immunoreactivity in oropharyngeal lymphoid tissues at 1 and 2 months postexposure (MPE). At 3 MPE, PrPCWD replication had expanded to all systemic lymphoid tissues. By 4 MPE, the PrPCWD burden in all lymphoid tissues had increased and approached levels observed in terminal disease, yet there was no evidence of nervous system invasion. These results indicate the first site of CWD prion entry is in the oropharynx, and the initial phase of prion amplification occurs in the oropharyngeal lymphoid tissues followed by rapid dissemination to systemic lymphoid tissues. This lymphoid replication phase appears to precede neuroinvasion.

http://jvi.asm.org/content/91/10/e00077-17

Evolution of diagnostic tests for Chronic Wasting Disease, a naturally occurring prion disease of cervids

Nicholas J. Haley and Jürgen A. Richt

Pathogens 2017, 6, 35; doi:10.3390/pathogens6030035

Abstract:

Since chronic wasting disease (CWD) was first identified nearly 50 years ago in a captive mule deer herd in the Rocky Mountains of the United States, it has slowly spread across North America through the natural and anthropogenic movement of cervids and their carcasses. As the endemic areas have expanded, so has the need for rapid, sensitive, and cost effective diagnostic tests—especially those which take advantage of samples collected antemortem. Over the past two decades, strategies have evolved from the recognition of microscopic spongiform pathology and associated immunohistochemical staining of the misfolded prion protein to enzyme-linked immunoassays capable of detecting the abnormal prion conformer in postmortem samples. In a history that parallels the diagnosis of more conventional infectious agents, both qualitative and real-time amplification assays have recently been developed to detect minute quantities of misfolded prions in a range of biological and environmental samples. With these more sensitive and semi-quantitative approaches has come a greater understanding of the pathogenesis and epidemiology of this disease in the native host. Because the molecular pathogenesis of prion protein misfolding is broadly analogous to the misfolding of other pathogenic proteins, including Aβand α-synuclein, efforts are currently underway to apply these in vitro amplification techniques towards the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other proteinopathies. Chronic wasting disease—once a rare disease of Colorado mule deer—now represents one of the most prevalent prion diseases, and should serve as a model for the continued development and implementation of novel diagnostic strategies for protein misfolding disorders in the natural host.

http://www.mdpi.com/2076-0817/6/3/35

Michigan CWD symposium brings together national wildlife

Wildlife scientists and other experts from across the country gathered last week in East Lansing, Michigan, for the state’s Chronic Wasting Disease Symposium — an opportunity to share ideas and focus on finding solutions for containing CWD, a fatal neurological disease that first emerged in Michigan’s free-ranging, white-tailed deer population in 2015.

Hosted Oct. 3-4 by the Michigan departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural Development, along with the Michigan Natural Resources Commission and the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, the two-day workshop brought together approximately 200 individuals from a variety of backgrounds.

“There was an impressive list of experts who are internationally known for their research on chronic wasting disease,” said Dr. Kelly Straka, DNR wildlife veterinarian. “There were representatives from several universities, including Georgia, Colorado State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Midwestern and Michigan State.”

In addition, the symposium welcomed speakers from state agencies representing Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Wyoming, and, as well as several nongovernmental and government agencies including the Quality Deer Management Association, the North American Deer Farmers Association, the United States Geological Survey and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Presentations covered topics including:

  • The first five decades of CWD evolution.
  • Disease transmission and pathogenesis (how it developed).
  • Maternal transmission and species susceptibility.
  • Transmission by saliva, feces, urine and blood.
  • Plant uptake and antemortem testing.
  • Social impacts of the disease.
  • The role of genetic influences.
  • The importance of applied research.
  • Perspective on captive cervid communities.
  • CWD management in various states.

Several members of Michigan’s recently formed CWD workgroup (with representation from both the Natural Resources Commission and the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development) were on hand to hear and consider the latest CWD information being shared.

The CWD workgroup was created to advise the NRC, the DNR and other applicable agencies on further steps and actions that could be implemented to substantially mitigate or eliminate chronic wasting disease in Michigan. The group held its first meeting Oct. 5 and is set to deliver recommendations to the NRC and the DNR by Dec. 31, 2017. Upon receipt of those recommendations, the NRC and the DNR will develop an appropriate process for public review and feedback.

“We want to sincerely thank everyone who took the time to share their wisdom, experience and strategies for better understanding and battling chronic wasting disease,” said Dr. Straka. “Michigan is committed to doing everything possible to stop this serious wildlife disease from causing long-term harm to our state’s vital deer population. This symposium was one of the first events to gather both research and management experts under one roof, and that’s a tremendous step forward.”

CWD is a contagious neurological disease affecting members of the cervid family, including deer, elk and moose. It attacks the central nervous system of infected animals resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior and loss of bodily functions. There is no recovery; the disease always results in death of the animal.

In 2015, Michigan’s first free-ranging CWD positive deer was found. Since the discovery of that first animal, the DNR has sampled more than 14,000 free-ranging deer from around the state. A total of 10 of those animals have tested positive for CWD.

Sessions that were live-streamed from the CWD Symposium will be available in November on the Michigan DNR’s YouTube channel once the two-day event has been edited and closed-captioned. Links to individual sessions will be posted on michigan.gov/cwd.

New publication

Disease-associated prion protein detected in lymphoid tissues from pigs challenged with the agent of chronic wasting disease. View abstract