CWD UPDATE JANUARY 15, 2004

Without a doubt, the big news in the TSE world is the announcement of a positive BSE cow in the state of Washington. The presumptive positive was announced on December 23, 2003 and was confirmed by the world reference laboratory in Weybridge, United Kingdom on December 25, 2003. Instead of trying to include all the information on this case here, I refer you to the USDA web site for perusal of the transcripts of the daily briefings held by USDA and APHIS. That web site is http://www.usda.gov

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission tested just over 4,800 deer for CWD during the past hunting season. All results have been returned and we had 16 new positives. Most of these were in endemic areas, however a new focal area has been identified along the Box Butte/Sheridan county line approximately 8 miles east of Alliance, Nebraska.

The Illinois DNR reports finding an additional 9 cases of CWD in their state, out of over 4,000 tested. Eight of the cases were in areas where it had been found before and one was in DeKalb County, south of the previous findings. This brings to 30 the total number of CWD positives found in Illinois.

The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department reports that no positives have been found in over 1,600 samples submitted for testing.

Wyoming Game and Fish reports that they have confirmed CWD in additional areas of their state. The positives were from areas close to the endemic area, extending the know area of infection north towards the Nebraska and South Dakota borders. Additionally, one positive was found in the Bighorn Basin in north central Wyoming.

Two positive elk have been reported from South Dakota. One of the positives was a yearling elk harvested northwest of Nemo, S.D. To date, results from 496 elk have only turned up the two positive while tests from 809 white-tailed deer and 437 mule deer have not found any positive. Several of the samples are still pending.

Two additional mule deer harvested in the LaSal Mountains, east of Moab, Utah have tested positive for CWD. This brings the Utah total to 8 positives, one from the Fountain Green area, four from the LaSal Mountains and three from Diamond Mountain north of Vernal.

The Wisconsin DNR reports three positive deer from Rock County. This County is along the Illinois border, adjacent to the counties where Illinois has found CWD. To date, over 200 samples from this county have been tested, with the three positives. They also report a positive from Kenosha County, the most easterly detection of CWD to date. Kenosha County is along the Wisconsin/Illinois border and also borders Lake Michigan.

A fourth buck from a Portage County, Wisconsin game farm has tested positive for CWD. This animal was shot during a paid hunt and submitted for testing, as required by law. This is the facility that is under a depopulation order but the owner is fighting the order in court. As the court activities proceed, he is still permitted to sell hunts. No live animal can be removed from the farm. To date, 11 farm-raised whitetail deer and 1 farm-raised elk in Wisconsin, on four farms, have tested positive for CWD.

A captive elk in Kansas has tested positive for TB. This animal was an adult bull from a heard that had a cow test positive approximately 4 years ago. The facility is located near Blue Mound, Kansas, about 100 miles south of Kansas City. The positive animal has been in the herd for 5+ years, giving it the opportunity to be exposed from the previous positive animal. Trace-outs are being conducted on this herd to determine if any animals have moved to other facilities.

The IAFWA CWD Working Group meet in St. Louis on January 8 to begin the process of developing a state of the National CWD Plan report. This report will identify what has been done regarding the action items in the National Plan and what additional actions need to be taken. Funding needs will also be required. State CWD contacts will receive two questionnaires soon, one on survey and monitoring efforts and another on funds expended on CWD. It will be vitally important that these questionnaires be completed and returned to enable formulation of plans to seek additional funding from Congress. Target date for completion of this report is early April of 2004.