WATERBURY, VT – The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department reports that test results from a Cornell University pathology lab show none of the 276 deer sampled from deer taken by hunters during Vermont s 2005 deer hunting seasons was positive for Chronic Wasting Disease.
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) of cervids, or members of the deer family. All TSE diseases are thought to be caused by specific infectious proteins. Scrapie in domestic sheep and goats, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) of cattle are TSEs of domestic animals. Several rare fatal diseases of humans are also TSEs. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) occurs worldwide and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is associated with the agent of BSE where it occurs in cattle.
First discovered in captive deer in Colorado in the 1960s, CWD has since appeared in several other states and two Canadian provinces. CWD was discovered in central New York in 2005. It has not been found in Vermont.
CWD Is thought to be transferred between deer through direct contact involving saliva, urine, or feces as well as through processed feed containing recycled carcasses.
A new regulation passed as a disease preventive measure prohibits feeding or baiting wild deer in Vermont to eliminate concentrations of wild deer around artificial food sources.
A second new rule requires that any deer or elk being brought into Vermont from any state or Canadian province that has CWD, or any captive hunt or farm facility, be in the form of boneless meat, hides or capes with no part of the head attached, antlers with no meat or tissue attached, finished -taxidermy heads, or upper canine teeth with no tissue attached.
In June of 2003, Vermont Fish & Wildlife joined the Vermont Agency of Agriculture in implementing a joint moratorium on the importation of live deer or elk into Vermont. Possession of any native wildlife without permit is illegal in Vermont.
Currently, there is no evidence that CWD can be transferred from members of the deer family to humans.
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department will continue to monitor and protect Vermont s wildlife resources in close coordination with other state and federal agencies. Vermont biologists are in close communication with deer specialists throughout North America in order to be up-to-date on the status of CWD in other states and Canadian provinces. Vermont wild deer will be continue to be sample-tested for CWD, and a protocol has been prepared in the event CWD does appear in Vermont in the future.
To learn more about CWD on the Internet, go to: www.cwd-info.org