CWD UPDATE 67 December 12, 2005

Tests have confirmed presence of chronic wasting disease in two free-ranging elk in New Mexico. New Mexico Veterinary Services Laboratory performed testing, and the positive tissues were re-tested and confirmed by National Veterinary Services Laboratories. For New Mexico, these are the first elk in which CWD has been confirmed. Both elk were from the Sacramento Mountains, Game Management Unit 34, and within 12 miles of Timberon, NM where a mule deer was confirmed with CWD earlier this year. One elk was a mature, asymptomatic bull harvested in Wayland Canyon by a hunter on 3 October. The hunter has been notified. The other elk was a yearling female found sick, in poor body condition, and unable to stand. Department staff collected this elk on 1 October in Hughes Canyon. The Colorado Division of Wildlife announced that a mule deer buck taken by a hunter in game management unit 102 has tested positive for chronic wasting disease. This is the first case of CWD to be found in GMU 102, which is located in southern Yuma County, which is in the eastern part of the state, adjacent to both Kansas and Nebraska. The deer was taken near the headwaters of Black Wolf Creek. Tissues from the animal were submitted by the hunter to the DOW as part of the DOW’s CWD surveillance program. Both the initial test and a second test conducted to confirm the deer had CWD were performed at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory.

The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks reports the results of CWD Surveillance during the period of July 1, 2005 to December 2, 2005 with a total of 2,391 samples. They have sampled 563 elk with 1 positive, 16 pending and 545 not detected, 597 mule deer with 1 positive, 421 pending, and 175 not detected; and 1,231 whitetail deer with 1 positive, 626 pending, and 604 not detected. The positive mule deer was from Fall River County; the whitetail was from Custer County, and one elk from Fall River County and one from Pennington County. The elk were hunter harvested and both deer were exhibiting clinical signs and were collected for testing.

Alberta has recorded its first case of chronic wasting disease in a wild deer killed by a hunter in the province. This brings the total to four cases of CWD confirmed in wild deer in Alberta. The federal Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed this latest case December 9. The hunter-killed mule deer was harvested 15 km south of Empress during the regular hunting season in wildlife management unit (WMU) 150, along the Alberta-Saskatchewan border. This location is in close proximity to the previous cases of CWD in wild cervids in Alberta. Alberta recently established three quota hunts to enlist hunters to help limit the potential spread of CWD. Quota hunts continue until December 20, but are only one of a number of actions the province is taking to combat the disease. Alberta will continue to use various methods to reduce deer populations in areas where the disease is found. The province considers CWD to be a serious threat to wild deer populations.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation reports that since April 1, 2005 that they have tested approximately 7,500 wild deer statewide, and has non-detect results back on about 6,300 with another 1,200 pending at the lab. There have been no additional positives since the 2 found last April in Oneida County. Within the containment area (numbers included in the statewide totals above), they have tested nearly 1,900 wild deer, and currently have only a couple dozen at the lab pending results. Their seasons are still open (last weekend of the firearms season in the southern zone is Dec. 10-11, to be followed by 9 day late archery and muzzleloading season), but collections are nearly done and the lab is returning a couple hundred results a day.

Saskatchewan Environment reports finding another 12 confirmed cases of CWD and an additional 2 cases pending from their hunter surveillance samples for 2005. All cases are within proximity of at least one other known case in free roaming deer and the majority of them are in the South Saskatchewan River Valley in the Swift Current area. Specific sex, age, and species information is unavailable at this time.

A major international conference on Prion Diseases of Domestic Livestock will be help in London, United Kingdom May 28-30, 2006. The Veterinary Laboratories Agency, the International Forum for TSEs and Food Safety, and the OIE Reference Laboratories for Switzerland & Japan are sponsoring this conference. Although specific to prion disease in domestic livestock, it will present interesting information on TSE diseases. The web site for the conference contains additional information and can be found at: http://www.eventsforce.net/eventsdynamic/frontend/frontEndFrameset1.csp?eventID=12

The West Virginia DNR reports that a 7 1/2-year-old Hampshire County whitetail doe that was found alive but weak and disoriented was confirmed to have chronic wasting disease, bringing to five the number of infected deer within the county. The location is seven miles from the location of the first positive deer, a road kill near Slanesville, and three miles from the scene of the other diseased deer that were later discovered after agency shooting teams killed and checked more than 200 animals. It is also just four miles from the Virginia state line.

Wisconsin DNR reports that as of December 9 they had sampled 21,535 deer with results from 8,394 received. They have detected 32 new positives, all whitetails, with 27 from the disease eradication zone and 5 from the herd reduction zone.