CWD UPDATE 74 April 17, 2006

The long awaited federal regulation on CWD in captive facilities has finally cleared USDA and is at OMB. Supposedly it will not languish for more than 90 days there and it is predicted to hit the Federal Register by the end of June or first of July.

Also from USDA, the federal funding from APHIS-VS will be available soon. This year, due to three new positive states (New York, West Virginia, and Kansas) the allocation per state will decrease. Current plans are to split the funding as follows; tier 1 – $235,000, tier 2 -$75,000, and tier 3 – $48,000.

The fifth case of BSE has been detected in Canada. This one is in a 6-year-old dairy cow from British Columbia. Testing was conducted at the National Center for Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg, Manitoba. No part of this animal entered the human food or animal feed systems. Preliminary investigations conducted prior to receiving final results identified the animal’s exact date of birth and birth farm, 2 critical elements required to trace other animals of interest. With the confirmed positive results and this information already in hand, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has immediately undertaken the investigation into the epidemiology of this case.

From Wisconsin DNR; they report that they have collected a total of 24,698 deer for CWD testing so far. The results from 24,549 of these are in with a total of 168 positives. Fifteen of the positives are from the Herd Reduction Zone while the rest are within the Disease Eradication Zone. Since 2002 they have sampled 99,874 deer and have results back from 99,756, with 634 positives, 18 of those in the Herd Reduction Zone.

South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks reports the majority of sampling for the year is complete. They tested 3,245 samples with 4 positive elk, 4 positive mule deer, and 4 positive whitetail deer; all from the area of known occurrence is western South Dakota. To date, South Dakota has found 45 cases of CWD (32 deer and 13 elk) in free ranging deer and elk since testing began in 1997. Wind Cave National Park accounts for 14 of these animals (6 elk, 8 deer). A total of 12,298 wild deer and elk have been tested for CWD since 1997. They will continue to sample sick cervids for CWD. Wind Cave National Park also continues to conduct CWD surveillance.

A new study out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison indicates that CWD prions adhere to soils and remain infectious. The study provides more evidence suggesting that the disease can be spread through the environment. Using a lab version of prions that sicken hamsters, the researchers mixed the agent with various soils. The prions tightly attached to a type of clay but not very well to quartz in sand. When the clay bound prions were injected into hamsters, they developed CWD-like symptoms after about three months. The complete paper on the study can be found on a free Internet site at pathogens.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.ppat.0020032