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Category Archives: Uncategorized

AFWA adopts CWD management best practices document

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Fish and Wildlife Health Committee voted unanimously to adopt the “AFWA Best Management Practices for Prevention, Surveillance, and Management of Chronic Wasting Disease” at our meeting last week in Tampa, Florida.  In addition, the AFWA Directors passed a formal resolution in support of these Best Management Practices.  Copies of the BMPs, the supporting Technical Review document, and the resolution are now available on the AFWA website at:”

More information can be found here:

MO – MDC offers free voluntary CWD testing statewide all season

MDC offers free voluntary CWD testing statewide all season

News from the region


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) wants deer hunters to know that it is offering free chronic-wasting-disease (CWD) sampling and testing of deer harvested anywhere in the state throughout the entire deer hunting season – Sept. 15 through Jan. 15, 2019. The sampling is voluntary and hunters can also get free test results for their deer.

Hunters can have their deer sampled at 11 select MDC offices around the state. Hunters can also take their deer to 64 participating taxidermists and meat processors located in the 48 counties of MDC’s CWD Management Zone. (See map for CWD Management Zone counties.)

Find locations and more information on voluntary CWD sampling at under “Voluntary CWD Sampling All Season.”

MDC asks hunters to Telecheck their deer before taking them to a CWD sampling location. Hunters can bring the entire deer — preferably field dressed — or the head with at least 6 inches of the neck in place. Heads that have the cape removed for taxidermy can also be sampled.

CWD test results can take up to four weeks from the time of sample submission. Hunters can get test results for their CWD-sampled deer online at

Mandatory CWD Sampling Nov. 10 and 11 in 31 counties

MDC will again conduct mandatory CWD sampling in 31 of the 48 counties of its CWD Management Zone during the opening weekend of the fall firearms deer season, Nov. 10 and 11. The counties include new ones added to the CWD Management Zone, counties with previous CWD positives, and counties very near previous positives.

The 31 counties for mandatory CWD sampling are: Adair, Barry, Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Cedar, Cole, Crawford, Franklin, Grundy, Hickory, Jefferson, Knox, Linn, Macon, Madison, McDonald, Mercer, Moniteau, Ozark, Perry, Polk, Putnam, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Warren, and Washington.

Hunters who harvest deer from these counties Nov. 10 or 11 must take their deer — or the head with at least 6 inches of the neck in place — on the day of harvest to one of 61 MDC CWD mandatory sampling stations. Deer may be presented at any mandatory sampling station.

Find locations for mandatory CWD sampling at under “Mandatory CWD Sampling Nov. 10-11.”

WI – DATCP Confirms Chronic Wasting Disease at Depopulated Iowa County Deer Farm

DATCP Confirms Chronic Wasting Disease at Depopulated Iowa County Deer Farm
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection sent this bulletin at 06/11/2018 08:07 AM CDT
DATCP Confirms Chronic Wasting Disease at Depopulated Iowa County Deer Farm
Release Date: June 11, 2018

Media Contacts:
Leeann Duwe, Communications Specialist, (608) 224-5005
Bill Cosh, Communications Director, (608) 224-5020

MADISON – The National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) confirmed that 21 whitetails from a deer farm in Iowa County tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). On May 18, a team comprised of Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and U.S. Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service veterinarians and animal health technicians humanely depopulated the farm’s 103 whitetail deer. CWD testing was done for 79 of those deer that were 16 months or older.

The deer farm had been quarantined since October when DATCP confirmed a deer shot on a hunting ranch in Waupaca County tested positive for CWD and was traced back to the farm. Since then, 10 additional deer harvested from the Waupaca County hunting ranch tested positive for CWD and were traced back to the Iowa County deer farm. State and federal indemnity payments are in the process of being determined.

CWD is a fatal, neurological disease of deer, elk, and moose caused by an infectious protein that affects the animal’s brain. Testing for CWD can only be performed after the deer’s death. For more information about CWD visit DATCP’s website. DATCP regulates deer farms for registration, recordkeeping, disease testing, movement, and permit requirements. To learn more about deer farm regulations in Wisconsin, visit DATCP’s farm-raised deer program. The Department of Natural Resources also provides resources for CWD and monitors the state’s wild white-tailed deer for CWD.

End of article

Full article can be found here:

NIH study finds no chronic wasting disease transmissibility in macaques


Chronic wasting disease (CWD) did not cross the species barrier to infect cynomolgus macaque monkeys during a lengthy investigation by National Institutes of Health scientists exploring risks to humans.

CWD is a type of brain-damaging and fatal prion disease found in deer, elk and moose; in humans, prion diseases can take more than a decade to develop. In the study, appearing in the Journal of Virology, 14 macaques were cerebrally and orally exposed to brain matter from CWD-infected deer and elk, and then monitored for up to 13 years. Macaques often are used to model human prion diseases because they are genetically similar to humans and are susceptible to several types of prion diseases known to infect people.

Researchers screened tissues for prion disease using several tests — including the highly sensitive RT-QuIC assay — and found no clinical, pathological or biochemical evidence suggesting that CWD was transmitted to macaques, according to their paper. RT-QuIC is Real-Time Quaking-Induced Conversion, developed at Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana, part of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

A key public health concern is whether people who consume meat or products from CWD-infected animals are susceptible to prion disease. CWD was first identified in 1967 in captive deer held in Colorado wildlife facilities. CWD has been gradually spreading in U.S. wildlife and is now found in 25 states as well as in Canada. The disease also has been found in South Korea, Norway and Finland.

Human prion diseases include fatal insomnia; kuru; Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker syndrome; and variant, familial and sporadic Creutzfeldt Jakob disease (CJD). Sporadic CJD is the most common human prion disease, affecting about one in one million people annually worldwide. Other prion diseases include scrapie in sheep and bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, in cattle.

Despite these findings, researchers suggest that people err on the side of caution and not consume meat from game animals that appear ill or thin, or are confirmed carriers of CWD.


B Race et al. Lack of Transmission of Chronic Wasting Disease to Cynomolgus Macaques. Journal of Virology DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00550-18 (2018).


Bruce Chesebro, M.D., chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases, is available to comment on this study.


To schedule interviews, please contact Ken Pekoc, (301) 402-1663, sends e-mail).

This press release describes a basic research finding. Basic research increases our understanding of human behavior and biology, which is foundational to advancing new and better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. Science is an unpredictable and incremental process — each research advance builds on past discoveries, often in unexpected ways. Most clinical advances would not be possible without the knowledge of fundamental basic research.

NIAID conducts and supports research — at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide — to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit


Full article can be found here:

USGS CWD Update 120

CWD Update 120
March 29, 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) released the following notice on March 28, 2018 (

APHIS Revises Chronic Wasting Disease Program Standards

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is revising its Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Program Standards to better meet the needs of both animal health officials and the cervid industry. To ensure consistent terminology, APHIS is aligning the language in the program standards with the Code of Federal Regulations.

CWD is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE), a progressive and fatal brain disease that can affect cervids, including deer, elk and moose. The CWD Herd Certification Program (HCP) provides a national approach to control CWD in farmed cervids. The program is a cooperative effort between APHIS, State animal health and wildlife agencies, and farmed cervid owners. APHIS coordinates with State agencies to encourage cervid owners to certify their herds and comply with the CWD Herd Certification Program Standards to prevent the introduction and spread of CWD.
The revisions cover a variety of topics including: adding guidelines for live animal testing in specific situations, clarifying how disease investigations should be handled, aligning with the Code of Federal Regulations’ requirement for mortality testing, simplifying fencing requirements, adding biosecurity recommendations, and describing our intended approach to update the CWD-susceptible species list. APHIS also outlines factors for determining indemnity and includes a table that outlines possible reductions in herd certification status that States may consider for herd owners that do not submit required mortality surveillance samples or consistently submit unusable testing samples.
The revisions are based on input from internal and external stakeholders, including scientific experts on CWD and TSEs from the United States and Canada, a working group of State and Federal animal health and wildlife officials and representatives from the farmed cervid industry. These stakeholders reviewed the program standards, identified sections for revision, and provided options for those revisions.

APHIS issued a summary of the working group’s discussions and recommended changes to the CWD Program Standards at the 2016 United States Animal Health Association meeting. The summary was available for public comment and 35 written comments were received.
This notice is on display in the Federal Register at Members of the public will be able to view the evaluation and submit comments beginning tomorrow at!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2018-0011. The revised program standards will take effect after the 30-day comment period ends, unless members of the public raise significant regulatory issues during the comment period.
APHIS will accept comments until April 30. Comments may be submitted through the following methods:
• Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2018-0011.
• Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2018-0011, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.
• Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2018-0011 or in our reading room, which is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 799-7039 before coming.

International Updates


The following release was issued by the Norwegian Veterinary Institute on March 15, 2018 (

Milestone reached in CWD management in Norway

Recently, the Norwegian Veterinary Institute detected Chronic wasting disease (CWD) in one of the last remaining reindeer in the area of Nordfjella, Zone 1. This was the 18th case of CWD in wild reindeer in Norway, and might also be the last now that nearly all wild reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) in this region have been culled.
Following the first detection of CWD in wild reindeer in 2016 in Norway, extensive testing of cervids from all over the country was initiated. Simultaneously, it was decided that the entire population of wild reindeer in Nordfjella, in which CWD had been detected, should be culled. This has now been accomplished – two months ahead of schedule. The culling of the Nordfjella reindeer may signify the eradication of classical contagious CWD from Norway, although it is too early to conclude. Sampling and testing of cervids will continue for many years to reveal possible spread of the disease to other regions.

Right premises for culling of the Nordfjella reindeer

The initial premises for the decision to cull have agreed with reality. Prior to the culling of the reindeer in Nordfjella last autumn, researchers from NINA, UiO and the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, in cooperation with local management, had estimated the population to comprise of 2150 animals (+/-200). So far, before a last search for any remaining animals has been performed, 2027 animals have been culled.
Based on knowledge regarding the age composition of the flock, and presuming that the two first CWD-positive animals taken out in regular hunting during 2016 represent a random selection, researches have estimated the flock prevalence of CWD to lie around 1% (with a margin of error).
– The premises for culling have turned out to match reality. A higher flock prevalence and an extended culling period would have reduced the likelihood of achieving the final goal, which is to secure a healthy population of wild reindeer in Nordfjella, and healthy cervids elsewhere in the country, says CWD-coordinator Jørn Våge at the Norwegian veterinary Institute.
He emphasizes that the project has not been based on removing diseased animals only, but is about eradicating infection and preventing further spread of CWD, which is a serious and deadly disease for cervids.
A lot remains before the eradication plan can be deemed a success. Screening in other regions, like Hardangervidda, will continue for many years and Nordfjella zone 1 must lie fallow without reindeer for at least five years due to the risk of environmental sources of infection.
– It is encouraging that this phase of the eradication process is nearing completion earlier than anticipated. A huge and impressive job has been done by all parties involved, particularly by hunters from the Norwegian Nature Inspectorate and laboratory personnel at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, says Våge.

Two types of CWD

In addition to the 18 confirmed cases of classical CWD in Nordfjella, CWD has also been detected in three moose (Alces alces) and a red deer (Cervus elaphus) elsewhere in Norway. These four cases differ from the Nordfjella-cases. All four animals were old individuals with an atypical form of the disease that is believed to occur sporadically and to arise spontaneously.
Recently, CWD was detected in a moose in Finland, with similar findings to those in the three Norwegian moose.
– The case in Finland was not unexpected following the intensified CWD testing in Europe in 2018. We have no reason to believe that there is any connection between the case in Finland and the occurrence of CWD in Nordfjella, says senior researcher Sylvie Benestad at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute.
The Norwegian Veterinary Institute regularly performs testing of cervids from all over Norway. So far, samples from more than 39 000 animals have been analyzed in what has been the largest surveillance program since the BSE-scare was at its peak.
CWD research at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute currently encompasses studies on disease progression and pathogenesis, diagnostics, epidemiology and genetics.

Recent Publications

Chronic wasting disease influences activity and behavior in white‐tailed deer

David R. Edmunds, Shannon E. Albeke, Ronald G. Grogan, Frederick G. Lindzey, David E. Legg, Walter E. Cook, Brant A. Schumaker, Terry J. Kreeger, Todd E. Cornish
The Journal of Wildlife Management 82(1):138–154; 2018; DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.21341


Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an infectious and fatal transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of members of the family Cervidae. Although CWD has been a serious concern among wildlife managers in several states in the United States and 2 Canadian provinces for over a decade, it is not known how CWD affects movement of hosts during the preclinical and clinical phases of disease. We hypothesized that normal movement patterns are altered by CWD. We evaluated migratory status, migration corridors, dispersal behavior, hourly activity patterns, home range areas, and resource selection for white‐tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) of known CWD status as a means of understanding how CWD infection influenced habitat use and disease spread. We captured deer, tested for CWD by tonsil biopsy, marked deer with radio‐transmitters (2003–2010) or global positioning system collars (2006–2010), and recaptured individuals annually for CWD testing. The proportion of CWD‐positive females that migrated was significantly less than CWD‐positive males. All deer that were CWD‐negative were more active than their CWD‐positive cohabitants, which was most pronounced in fall for males when CWD‐positive deer were significantly less active throughout the day. Home range areas were small ( = 1.99 km2) and were larger for CWD‐negative females than CWD‐positive females. Resource selection analyses indicated that all deer, regardless of CWD status, sex, or migratory status selected riparian habitats. Riparian habitats represent high CWD risk areas that should be targeted for potential disease management actions (e.g., surveillance, culling, environmental treatments).

Pathogen-mediated selection in free-ranging elk populations infected by chronic wasting disease

Ryan J. Monello, Nathan L. Galloway, Jenny G. Powers, Sally A. Madsen-Bouterse, William H. Edwards, Mary E. Wood, Katherine I. O’Rourke and Margaret A. Wild
PNAS November 14, 2017. 114 (46) 12208-12212; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1707807114


Pathogens can exert a large influence on the evolution of hosts via selection for alleles or genotypes that moderate pathogen virulence. Inconsistent interactions between parasites and the host genome, such as those resulting from genetic linkages and environmental stochasticity, have largely prevented observation of this process in wildlife species. We examined the prion protein gene (PRNP) in North American elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) populations that have been infected with chronic wasting disease (CWD), a contagious, fatal prion disease, and compared allele frequency to populations with no history of exposure to CWD. The PRNP in elk is highly conserved and a single polymorphism at codon 132 can markedly extend CWD latency when the minor leucine allele (132L) is present. We determined population exposure to CWD, genotyped 1,018 elk from five populations, and developed a hierarchical Bayesian model to examine the relationship between CWD prevalence and PRNP 132L allele frequency. Populations infected with CWD for at least 30–50 y exhibited 132L allele frequencies that were on average twice as great (range = 0.23–0.29) as those from uninfected populations (range = 0.04–0.17). Despite numerous differences between the elk populations in this study, the consistency of increase in 132L allele frequency suggests pathogen-mediated selection has occurred due to CWD. Although prior modeling work predicted that selection will continue, the potential for fitness costs of the 132L allele or new prion protein strains to arise suggest that it is prudent to assume balancing selection may prevent fixation of the 132L allele in populations with CWD.

Current evidence on the transmissibility of chronic wasting disease prions to humans – A systematic review

L. Waddell, J. Greig, M. Mascarenhas, A. Otten, T. Corrin, K. Hierlihy
Transboundary and Emerging Diseases. 2018. Volume 65, Issue 1, pp. 37-49; DOI: 10.1111/tbed.12612


A number of prion diseases affect humans, including Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease; most of these are due to genetic mutations in the affected individual and occur sporadically, but some result from transmission of prion proteins from external sources. Of the known animal prion diseases, only bovine spongiform encephalopathy prions have been shown to be transmissible from animals to humans under non‐experimental conditions. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a prion disease that affects cervids (e.g., deer and elk) in North America and isolated populations in Korea and Europe. Systematic review methodology was used to identify, select, critically appraise and analyse data from relevant research. Studies were evaluated for adherence to good conduct based on their study design following the Cochrane collaboration’s approach to grading the quality of evidence and the strength of recommendations (GRADE). Twenty‐three studies were included after screening 800 citations from the literature search and evaluating 78 full papers. Studies examined the transmissibility of CWD prions to humans using epidemiological study design, in vitro and in vivo experiments. Five epidemiological studies, two studies on macaques and seven studies on humanized transgenic mice provided no evidence to support the possibility of transmission of CWD prions to humans. Ongoing surveillance in the United States and Canada has not documented CWD transmission to humans. However, two studies on squirrel monkeys provided evidence that transmission of CWD prions resulting in prion disease ispossible in these monkeys under experimental conditions and seven in vitro experiments provided evidence that CWD prions can convert human prion protein to a misfolded state. Therefore, future discovery of CWD transmission to humans cannot be entirely ruled out on the basis of current studies, particularly in the light of possible decades‐long incubation periods for CWD prions in humans. It would be prudent to continue CWD research and epidemiologic surveillance, exercise caution when handling potentially contaminated material and explore CWD management opportunities.

PDF is located here: CWD Update 120 from USGS

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