CWD UPDATE April 21, 2004

The Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, has issued an executive order transferring the administration and regulation of captive cervid facilities to the Michigan DNR. This action was taken as a result of the recommendations of a blue ribbon task force that reviewed the state’s response to CWD and included this transfer of authority in their recommendations. The full text of the Governor’s executive order may be found at http://www.michigan.gov/gov/0,1607,7-168-21975-90877–,00.html This order also calls for a complete audit of the industry, similar to the one conducted in Wisconsin last year.

Bobby Acord, Administrator of APHIS, announced his retirement earlier this month. The Secretary of Agriculture has appointed Dr. Ron DeHaven to replace him. Ron was most recently the head of Veterinary Services with APHIS and gained national prominence during the BSE inquiry of December and January.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reports that none of the deer and elk tested for CWD from the 2003 hunting season were positive. The agency tested over 1,600 deer and 29 elk. To date, CWD has not been detected in wild or farmed cervids in North Dakota. The Game and Fish Department plans to continue testing for CWD in the foreseeable future.

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife reports that all 301 deer tested during 2003 were negative for CWD. The Division plans to continue testing in the future.

The Ahead of Print edition of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal contains an article on “Chronic Wasting Disease and Potential Transmission to Humans”. It can be accessed on the CWD Alliance website or at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol10no6/03-1082.htm The same edition also contains an article on “Environmental Sources of Prion Transmission in Mule Deer”. This article can be accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol10no6/04-0010.htm

Rebecca Humphries, Wildlife Division Chief for Michigan DNR, has been appointed as the agency’s new Director. Director Humphries has been very involved in the TB and other disease situations in Michigan and brings a professional perspective to disease issues to Michigan and the Midwest.

Wisconsin DNR has issued orders that deer fawns may not be rehabilitated in 25 counties in the southern part of the state. This is to prevent the spread of the disease. Several licensed rehabilitators have expressed disappointment with the order, which requires that deer fawns from designated counties be humanly euthanized instead of rehabilitated. (Not all of our management decisions that are based on science are popular, although they are needed in this battle).

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission collected 11 deer in Sheridan County, northwest part of the state, near the location of a targeted surveillance CWD positive deer. The testing did not find any positives in the 11 deer, although several of them were positive for EHD/Bluetongue titers.

A ban on baiting and feeding deer in 24 Wisconsin counties at risk for the spread of chronic wasting disease will continue under emergency rules while state wildlife officials begin work drafting permanent rules for baiting and feeding deer. As with any new rule, initially the department will focus on educating the public on the new rules to promote voluntary compliance. Enforcement action will be taken in situations where individuals are found to be knowingly violating the new rules.

Good news on the Michigan TB front. Current data shows a statistically significant decrease in the number of TB cases in deer in the TB area. USDA has improved the classification of the state outside of the TB area to one that only requires testing of individual cattle, not entire herds.