CWD UPDATE MARCH 19, 2004

It has been a while since the last CWD update and I apologize for taking so long. A lot has been reported in the CWD field and most of the information contained in the update will be old news to most folks.

On March 23, 2004, Mr. Bobby Acord, Administrator of APHIS, announced his retirement, effective immediately. It is this writer’s opinion that the animal disease community will miss Bobby greatly. Throughout his career at APHIS, Bobby has been very aware of State’s authorities and has worked very hard to build partnerships to address animal disease issues. As co-chair of the National CWD Task Force, Bobby insured that the state’s issues were addressed and that all efforts to combat CWD were coordinated through the states. I know of no other federal agency administrator who has worked as hard on animal disease issues and to bring in participation from all partners as Bobby has. We should all wish him well in his retirement.

Nebraska reports an additional CWD case from Sheridan County. The mule deer buck was observed exhibiting clinical signs by a Nebraska Conservation Officer and collected. The animal tested positive for CWD and had titers for EHD in a serology test. Location was near Hay Springs, Nebraska, east of Chadron and represents an additional eastward finding from the endemic area in northern Sioux County. The Game and Parks Commission is in the process of collecting additional deer from the immediate vicinity of this finding to determine the extent of infection.

Additionally, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission collected an additional 26 deer from an area approximately 10 miles east of Alliance, Nebraska. This is where we had four CWD positives from the November hunting season. Results from IHC confirmation found an additional 3 positives in the 26. All samples were mule deer and the total from this small area is now 7 positives. We have placed radios on 10 deer from this area to determine where they disperse to during the summer months.

The International Panel of Experts convened by Secretary of Agriculture Veneman has issued their report on the U. S. response to the finding of a single cow with BSE in Washington State. The panel issued several recommendations on how to improve the response but, in general, found little to criticize in the USDA response. The long report can be accessed at www.usda.gov and downloaded from there. In it interesting to note that one emphasis of this panel was the importance of educational programs to educate the public and scientific community about TSEs.

USDA-APHIS has reissued the Federal Register notice on “Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy; Minimal Risk Regions and Importation of Commodities”. The document can be found on the web at http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2004/04-5265.htm. The new deadline for comments is April 7, 2004.

USDA-APHIS has also issued a Final Rule in the Federal Register titled “Blood and Tissue Collection at Slaughtering and Rendering Establishments. This pertains mainly to BSE but can be found at http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2004/04-4810.htm.

The Saskatchewan Agriculture, Food and Rural Revitalization agency has issued a report on the influence of tract minerals on susceptibly to CWD. The report is a pdf file and can be accessed at http://www.agr.gov.sk.ca/apps/adf/adf_admin/reports/20010027.pdf There is much more happening in the CWD world that I have probably omitted. Hope to get the next update out in a more timely manner.