Congress gave final approval Monday to a bill that includes $4.2 million to expand research on chronic wasting disease on wild deer and elk populations.

The money, a $1 million increase in funding over last year, was requested by Rep. Dave Obey, D-Wis. He said it was $375,000 more than the administration’s budget request.

The U.S. Geological Survey will study the transmission pathways of the disease, as well as outbreak patterns and the disease’s possible associations with landscape features. There is also $250,000 to establish a wildlife disease center in Wisconsin.

“There is much we still don’t know about this disease,” Obey said. “We still do not understand how CWD spreads from animal to animal; we still do not know what kind of health impact it has on people; and we still don’t know how to treat or prevent the disease.”

The bill will become law when it receives President Bush’s signature.

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