CWD UPDATE 57 APRIL 8, 2005

Iowa DNR reports that they tested 4,579 whitetail deer in 2004 with none of the animals testing positive. Samples were collected from all 99 counties in Iowa; however the majority – roughly 3,500 – was taken in the seven Mississippi River border counties. Emphasis was placed on that area due to the prevalence and proximity of CWD in Wisconsin and Illinois. Since 2000, the Iowa DNR has tested more than 12,300 deer; none have tested positive.

Two men in Minnesota have plead guilty to illegal trafficking in white-tailed deer and face fines up to $250,000 and 5 year federal prison sentences. Investigators from the Minnesota DNR and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service charged the men with the illegal transport and sale of more than 30 live deer between 1999 and 2002. Apparently, tens of thousands of dollars changed hands during the sales. Several aspects of the case are still under investigation and federal indictments have been handed down to an Oklahoma shooting preserve operator. The investigation continues in at lease two other states with additional federal prosecution a possibility.

South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks reports that they have received the results of 2004 testing for 2,687 cervids 2 from Wind Cave National Park pending. They tested 698 elk with 2 positive, 751 mule deer with 3 positive, and 1,238 whitetails with 4 positive. The most recent positive was a female elk from Custer State Park, the fist positive cervid from the Park, which was collected due to clinical signs being observed. Two whitetails and one mule deer from Wind Cave National Park are included in the totals above.

A second case of CWD has been confirmed in Oneida County, New York. This animal was a four to five year old whitetail that had died from aspiration pneumonia and a sample sent in for testing. The animal had apparently been on the index farm then shipped to another facility in the county. Currently, the index herd and the six other associated herds including the second positive herd are under quarantine. All animals remaining in the index herd and the herd with the second confirmed positive will be depopulated and tested for CWD. The investigation to determine the source of the infection is ongoing. Both facilities are from the area around Westmoreland, New York and have been depopulated.

The first white-tailed deer diagnosed with chronic wasting disease in Oneida County, New York was one of the deer donated to the Verona, New York Fire Department and served at its Annual Sportsmen’s Feast on Sunday, March 13, an Oneida County Health Department spokesman said today. The deer was donated and consumed before the Health Department knew it had the disease, according to the agencies spokesperson. Public health officials are trying to contact all attendees at the feast to reassure them that the danger of them becoming ill from the venison is very minimal. (Look for a lot of media coverage of this incident).

The Pennsylvania Game Commission reports that they have received the results of 3,699 deer samples submitted for CWD testing during the 2004 hunting season. All samples were returned with CWD not detected. They also report that 32 elk were tested with no CWD detected. The elk samples also were tested for brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis and found to be free from these diseases. During the last four hears, 162 elk and 6,259 deer have been tested with no positive results.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources tested 3,067 samples from deer and elk taken during last fall’s hunting seasons. Seven mule deer tested positive for the disease all from the La Sal Mountains in southeastern Utah, an area where the disease has been confirmed in the past.

The Ohio DNR reports that tests from 656 deer submitted for CWD testing during the 2004-hunting season failed to detect any CWD in that state.

Late breaking news is that an additional 3 deer from the index herd in Oneida County, New York have tested positive for CWD. This brings the total to 5 for the state, 4 on the index facility and 1 on another facility, all in Oneida County.