CWD UPDATE January 3, 2005

The CWD world is still reeling from the loss of two very good people, Tom Thorne and Beth Williams. At this time, I do not see anyone who can step up and take Beth’s place in our profession nor do I see anyone with Tom’s background and expertise replacing him. This loss is felt as a deep personal loss by many of us but we must not let this loss diminish our efforts towards combating CWD. The best memorial we can have for these two wonderful people is a renewed commitment to learning all we can about CWD and other wildlife diseases and carrying on their dedication to and passion for the profession. May God grant them peace and give us understanding of their loss.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency reports an additional case of BSE in Alberta. The infected animal was born in 1996, prior to the 1997 ban on meat and bone meal. No part of the animal entered the human or animal food chain. The CFIA is now concentrating on testing animals that are recently born offspring of the infected animal and cattle born on the same farm within a year of the infected animal. The USDA has announced that his recent finding will not alter the recently announced classification of Canada as a minimal risk country and the plan to resume trade in beef products between the U. S. and Canada.

Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks reports that a total of 2,091 samples from the 2004-hunting season have been tested and no evidence of CWD has been detected. Although 26 samples are still pending and they will be collecting more samples at Gardiner during the late hunt, unless there are some real surprises agency biologists feel that they have escaped CWD again this year.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission tested 5,735 deer from the 2005 firearm season for CWD. Of these samples, 28 tested positive for the disease. New counties where CWD was found include Hall, Arthur, and Duel. The main finding was the positive in Hall County near Grand Island, Nebraska (reported in last update). Commission staff collected an additional 67 deer from the immediate vicinity of this positive with no additional positives being found. Sample collection will continue during the archery, muzzleloader, and late firearm seasons in the Panhandle and Hall county areas.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources reports 11 new cases of CWD from fall testing. There are still some tests pending. The total of confirmed cases in Illinois is now 76 animals, all from Boone, Winnebago, McHenry, and DeKalb counties.