Representative Ron Kind (WI) introduced H.R.4454 – Chronic Wasting Disease Management Act on November 21, 2017. Details, including bill text, can be found at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/4454.
Senator Jon Tester (MT) introduced S.2252 – Chronic Wasting Disease Support for States Act on December 19, 2017. Details, including bill text, can be found at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/2252.
State and Provincial Updates
The following press release was issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) on February 15, 2018 (http://www.media.pa.gov/pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=662):
Wisconsin Deer from Now-Quarantined Lancaster County Farm Tests Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture today announced that a deer harvested from a Wisconsin hunting preserve subsequently tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The deer originated from a Lancaster County farm that is now under quarantine. DNA testing confirmed on February 13, 2018, that the deer was born and raised on the West Cocalico Township, Lancaster County, breeding farm. A two-and-a-half-year-old buck from the same farm tested positive for CWD earlier this month. Neither deer showed signs of the disease prior to its death. The farm has been quarantined since December 15, 2017, when Wisconsin’s state veterinarian notified the department of the potential traceback. DNA testing was run to confirm the deer’s identity in the absence of official identification tags for the deer. The department, along with the United States Department of Agriculture, is currently evaluating the farm in cooperation with the herd owner to establish a Herd Management Plan to mitigate the threat of this disease spreading. The plan, which all three parties sign, may include indemnification of the herd by the USDA or a continuous quarantine with mandatory testing. A quarantine would be extended five years every time a positive is detected. CWD attacks the brain of infected deer, elk and moose, producing small lesions that eventually result in death. Animals can get the disease through direct contact with saliva, feces and urine from an infected animal or contaminated environment. 2
Clinical signs include weight loss, excessive salivation, increased drinking and urination, and abnormal behavior like stumbling, trembling, and depression. Infected deer and elk may also allow unusually close approach by humans or natural predators. The disease is fatal and there is no known treatment or vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report no strong evidence that humans or livestock can contract CWD. The infectious agent, known as a prion, tends to concentrate in the brain, spinal column, eyes, spleen, and lymph nodes. These high-risk parts must be properly handled and disposed of at the harvest location to prevent disease spread. Low-risk parts such as deboned meat, clean skull caps and capes present little risk and may be taken home. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture coordinates a mandatory surveillance program for the disease for 860 breeding farms, hobby farms and hunting preserves across the state. Since 1998, accredited veterinarians and certified CWD technicians have tested 27,000 captive deer in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Game Commission collects samples from hunter-harvested deer and elk and wild deer that appear sick or behave abnormally. Find more information about Pennsylvania’s captive deer CWD programs and the department’s broader efforts to safeguard animal health at agriculture.pa.gov.
The following press release was issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) on February 12, 2018 (http://www.media.pa.gov/pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=659):
Deer on Bedford County Hunting Preserve, Lancaster County Breeding Farm Test Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture today announced that two additional captive deer have tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Pennsylvania, bringing the total to 46 since the disease was discovered in Pennsylvania in 2012. The disease was confirmed in one white-tailed deer on a hunting preserve in Bedford County, and one at a Lancaster County breeding operation. Both deer were born and raised on their respective premises, and these are the first CWD-positives discovered on either farm. Both operations are now under quarantine. This is the first CWD-positive test result in a Lancaster County captive deer.
“The Department of Agriculture takes the emergence and spread of CWD in Whitetail Deer in Pennsylvania very seriously,” said State Veterinarian Dr. David Wolfgang. “Farmers with captive deer and other CWD-susceptible species must participate in one of two programs and follow specific procedures outlined for their program. The department is committed to cooperating with deer farmers, the Game Commission, and foresters to keep deer populations in Pennsylvania healthy and at viable population levels.” 3
The department’s Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory in Harrisburg tested the deer, which were later confirmed positive at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. The deer were tested as required by the department’s CWD program. Deer cannot be moved on or off these properties without permission from the department. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report no strong evidence that humans or livestock can contract CWD. CWD attacks the brain of infected deer, elk and moose, producing small lesions that eventually result in death. Animals can get the disease through direct contact with saliva, feces and urine from an infected animal or contaminated environment. Clinical signs include weight loss, excessive salivation, increased drinking and urination, and abnormal behavior like stumbling, trembling, and depression. Infected deer and elk may also allow unusually close approach by humans or natural predators. The disease is fatal and there is no known treatment or vaccine. The infectious agent, known as a prion, tends to concentrate in the brain, spinal column, eyes, spleen, and lymph nodes. These high-risk parts must be properly handled and disposed of at the harvest location to prevent disease spread. Low-risk parts such as deboned meat, clean skull caps and capes present little risk and may be taken home. The first cases of CWD in Pennsylvania were detected in white-tailed deer that died in 2012 on an Adams County deer farm, and wild, white-tailed deer in Blair and Bedford Counties. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture coordinates a mandatory surveillance program for the disease for 860 breeding farms, hobby farms and hunting preserves across the state. Since 1998, accredited veterinarians and certified CWD technicians have tested 27,000 captive deer in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Game Commission collects samples from hunter-harvested deer and elk and wild deer that appear sick or behave abnormally. Find more information about Pennsylvania’s captive deer CWD programs, and the department’s broader efforts to safeguard animal health at agriculture.pa.gov.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) issued the following press release on February 9, 2018 (http://www.mdwfp.com/media/news/wildlife-hunting/chronic-wasting-disease-confirmed-in-a-mississippi-white-tailed-deer/):
Chronic Wasting Disease Confirmed in a Mississippi White-tailed Deer
JACKSON – A white-tailed deer collected on January 25, 2018, in Issaquena County has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The deer was a 4.5-year-old male that died of natural causes and was reported to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. 4
This is the first time an animal in Mississippi has tested positive for the disease, which is fatal to white-tailed deer. MDWFP will immediately implement the CWD Response Plan under the auspices of the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.
Pursuant to the Order of the Executive Director on behalf of the Commission, effectively immediately, supplemental feeding is banned in the following counties: Claiborne, Hinds, Issaquena, Sharkey, Warren, and Yazoo.
CWD was first documented among captive mule deer in Colorado in 1967, and has been confirmed in 24 states, three Canadian provinces, and two foreign countries. It has been found in the free-ranging herds in 22 states and among captive cervids in 16 states.
According to the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance, CWD affects only cervids (hoofed animals in the cervidae family such as deer, elk, and moose). CWD affects the body’s nervous system. Once in the host’s body, prions transform normal cellular protein into an abnormal shape that accumulates until the cell ceases to function. Infected animals begin to lose weight, lose their appetite, and develop an insatiable thirst. They tend to stay away from herds, walk in patterns, carry their head low, salivate, and grind their teeth.
For more information regarding CWD in Mississippi, visit our website at www.mdwfp.com or call us at (601) 432-2199.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) issued the following press release on February 5, 2018 (http://magazine.outdoornebraska.gov/2018/02/sampling-deer-results-203-positives-cwd/):
Sampling of deer results in 203 positives for CWD
LINCOLN, Neb. – The presence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer has been detected for the first time in the southwestern Nebraska counties of Chase, Dundy, Hayes, Frontier and Franklin, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
The Commission conducted a CWD sampling operation in its Northwest and Southwest District deer check stations during the 2017 November firearm deer season.
There were 203 positives from 1,807 deer sampled primarily in the Frenchman, Platte, Republican, Pine Ridge, Upper Platte and Plains management units. Both whitetails and mule deer were sampled.
The goal of this sampling effort is to assess the spread and prevalence of the disease through periodic testing in each region of the state, which in turn helps biologists predict when and if future effects on deer numbers may occur. Testing will take place in regional locations of the state in the next several years. 5
Although present in Colorado and Wyoming for several decades, CWD was first discovered in Nebraska in 2000 in Kimball County. Since 1997, Commission staff have tested nearly 51,000 deer and found 499 that tested positive. CWD has been found in 40 Nebraska counties, but no population declines attributable to the disease have yet occurred.
CWD is prion disease that attacks the brain of an infected deer and elk, eventually causing emaciation, listlessness, excessive salivation and death. It is generally thought that CWD is transmitted from animal to animal through exchange of body fluids, but other modes of transmission may exist.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no person is known to have contracted CWD; however, hunters should cautiously handle and process deer and avoid consuming animals that test positive or look sick. Livestock and other animals not in the deer family also do not appear susceptible to CWD.
Hunters can help prevent the spread of CWD by using proper carcass disposal methods. CWD prions, the infectious proteins that transmit the disease, can remain viable for months or even years in the soil. Hunters should field dress animals at the place of kill, avoid spreading spinal cord or brain tissue to meat, and to dispose of the head (brain), spinal column and other bones at a licensed landfill.
Learn more about CWD at OutdoorNebraska.gov/cwd/.
The following press release was issued by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on January 22, 2018 (http://dnr.wi.gov/news/releases/article/?id=4424):
First CWD detection in Lincoln County will result in baiting and feeding ban in Lincoln and Langlade Counties
MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has received confirmation that a wild deer has tested positive for chronic wasting disease in northeast Lincoln County, south of Rhinelander.
As required by law, this finding will establish baiting and feeding bans for Lincoln and Langlade counties effective Feb. 1, 2018. The ban for Lincoln County will be enacted for three years. Langlade County is within 10 miles of the Lincoln County positive wild deer, and due to being adjacent to a county with a CWD positive test result, a two-year ban will be enacted. Oneida county is already under baiting and feeding bans and those bans will be renewed with this newest detection.
The two-year-old buck harvested in northeast Lincoln County is the first confirmed positive deer in this county. 6
“This latest discovery is troublesome and is something we take very seriously,” said DNR Secretary Dan Meyer. “We will start a dialogue with the local community through the County Deer Advisory Council on what steps should be taken next. While there is no silver bullet remedy to eradicate CWD, we have learned from experience that having the local community involved is a key factor in managing this disease.”
The DNR will also take the following steps:
Establish a 10-mile radius disease surveillance area around this positive location
Conduct surveillance activities to assess disease distribution and prevalence including:
- Encourage reporting of sick deer
- Sample vehicle-killed adult deer
- Sample adult deer harvested under agricultural damage permits
- Sample adult deer harvested under urban deer hunts in the area
Establish additional CWD sampling locations prior to the 2018 deer seasons
These actions are a very important next step in further understanding the potential geographic distribution of the disease and if other animals are infected within Wisconsin’s deer herd in the area.
As has been demonstrated in the past in other parts of the state, local citizen involvement in the decision-making process as well as management actions to address this CWD detection will have the greatest potential for success.
For more information regarding baiting and feeding regulations and CWD in Wisconsin, and how to have adult deer tested during the 2018/2019 hunting seasons, visit the department’s website, dnr.wi.gov, and search “bait and feeding” and “CWD sampling” respectively.
The following press release was issued by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on January 16, 2018 (http://dnr.wi.gov/news/Weekly/?id=623#art6):
Baiting and feeding ban to begin for Milwaukee County after first positive CWD detection
MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has received confirmation that a wild deer has tested positive for chronic wasting disease in the West Allis metropolitan area of Milwaukee County.
As required by law, this finding will establish a baiting and feeding ban for Milwaukee County effective Feb. 1, 2018. Milwaukee County is already classified as a CWD-affected county due to being adjacent to a county with a detection; however, because of this finding, a new three-year baiting and feeding ban will go into effect.
A 4-year-old buck displaying clinical symptoms of CWD was tested from an urban setting in West Allis. It is the first confirmed positive in Milwaukee County. To determine if the disease is present in other wild deer in the area, the DNR will conduct disease surveillance within a 10-mile radius around the positive location. Milwaukee metro sub-unit deer hunters are encouraged to submit adult deer harvested for CWD sampling during the remainder of the metro sub-unit season. 7
For more information regarding baiting and feeding regulations and CWD in Wisconsin, and how to have adult deer testing during the remainder of the metro sub-unit season, visit the department’s website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keywords “bait” and “CWD sampling” respectively.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) issued the following press release on January 12, 2018 (http://www.agri.ohio.gov/public_docs/news/2018/1.12.18%20CWD%20Captive%20Positive_FINAL.pdf):
Chronic Wasting Disease Confirmed in Ohio Captive Deer
No cases found in wild deer population; active steps taken to control further spread
REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (Jan. 12, 2018) – The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) confirmed a positive case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a captive deer. The state is taking quarantine action to control the further spread of the disease and there is no evidence that CWD has affected the wild deer population in the state.
The positive sample was taken from a single buck on a hunting preserve in Guernsey County and tested as part of Ohio’s CWD monitoring program for captive white-tailed deer operations. The animal was transferred from a captive breeding facility in Holmes County just days before it was harvested. Both the hunting preserve and the breeding farm are under quarantine and are subject to intensive monitoring and sampling protocols. The quarantine will remain enforced until the state is satisfied that disease transference can no longer occur between captive operations.
“While the confirmed case is unfortunate, this proves the necessity of testing and monitoring the health of captive deer populations in Ohio in order to monitor the health of the animals and to manage exposure to diseases,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey. “ODA will work with our state partners and continue to take whatever steps necessary in order to manage CWD and prevent exposure to Ohio’s wild deer population.”
ODA regulates Ohio’s captive white-tailed deer facilities and monitors the health of animals through regular testing of deer at both farms and hunting preserves. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife conducts regular surveillance throughout Ohio to monitor the health of the state’s wild deer population. Acting in an abundance of caution, increased surveillance of wild deer will occur around the quarantined facilities associated with the recent CWD positive test. Again, no CWD has ever been confirmed in Ohio’s wild deer population.
CWD is deadly in deer, elk and moose, but there is no evidence CWD can be transmitted to humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Though no human disease has been associated with CWD, the CDC recommends, as a precaution, that people or other animals do not eat any part of an animal diagnosed with or showing signs of CWD. It is transmitted by direct animal-to- animal contact through saliva, feces and urine. Signs of the 8
disease include weight loss, excessive salivation, increased drinking and urination, and abnormal behavior like stumbling and trembling.
Infected deer and elk may also allow unusually close approach by humans or natural predators. The disease is fatal in deer and there is no known treatment or vaccine.
The following press release was issued by the Texas Parks and Wildlife department (TPWD) on January 10, 2018 (https://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/releases/?req=20180110a):
Panhandle Roadkill White-tailed Deer Tests Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease
AUSTIN – A roadkill white-tailed deer collected by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department personnel on U.S. Highway 87 between Dalhart and Hartley has tested positive for chronic wasting disease. This marks the first discovery of CWD in a Texas roadkill and the first case in a Texas Panhandle whitetail.
“The roadkill was found along the border between the current CWD Containment Zone and Surveillance Zone, and as a result will likely necessitate a precautionary expansion of the Containment Zone,” said Dr. Bob Dittmar, State Wildlife Veterinarian with TPWD. “We do not believe there’s a need to expand the Surveillance Zone at this time.”
TPWD staff will present a proposal detailing the expansion of the Containment Zone during the TPW Commission’s Jan. 24 public hearing. The proposed expansion of the Containment Zone will not result in any new requirements for hunters or landowners unless they are engaged in a permitted activity such as moving live deer.
The disease was first detected in the Panhandle in 2015 when a mule deer buck tested positive during routine CWD surveillance.
Additional information about CWD is available on the TPWD web site http://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/diseases/cwd/ .
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission issued the following press release on January 9, 2018 (https://www.agfc.com/en/news/2018/01/09/cwd-confirmed-in-three-nw-arkansas-counties/):
CWD confirmed in three NW Arkansas counties
LITTLE ROCK – Chronic wasting disease, detected in Arkansas almost two years ago, has been found in three more counties. Four white-tailed deer in Benton, Washington and Sebastian counties recently tested positive for the deadly disease, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. 9
The deer in Benton County were a 2½-year-old doe near Decatur and a 5½-year-old doe near Springtown. The Sebastian County deer was an adult buck near Lavaca, and the one from Washington County was a 1½-year-old buck near Prairie Grove. All four were harvested by hunters during the 2017-18 deer season, and confirmed as CWD-positive by the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Madison.
Test results have not been received for all samples that have been collected; it’s possible more deer and elk could test positive for the disease. Since these positive samples were detected outside the current CWD Management Zone, the AGFC will continue their review to ensure all information is accurate.
“Although CWD is a serious threat to Arkansas’s elk and white-tailed deer, we are not the first to deal with the disease,” AGFC Director Pat Fitts said. “Our staff is prepared and, with help from the public, will respond with effective measures. We have learned from the experiences of 23 other states.”
CWD was first detected in Arkansas Feb. 23, 2016, when a hunter-harvested elk in Newton County tested positive. The first Arkansas deer with CWD was verified March 3, 2016, also in Newton County.
Public meetings in the area will be scheduled as forums to discuss plans and to answer questions.
CWD was first documented among captive mule deer in Colorado in 1967, and has been detected in 24 states and two Canadian provinces. It’s been found in the wild in 20 states and among captive cervids in 15 states.
The Commission has taken several steps to prevent the disease, which strikes cervids (deer, elk and moose), from entering the state. A moratorium on live cervid importation began in 2002, and the importation of cervid carcasses was banned in 2005. Moratoriums on permits for commercial hunting resorts and breeder/dealer permits for cervid facilities were put in place in 2006.
Capturing white-tailed deer by hand was banned in 2012.
According to the CWD Alliance, the disease was discovered among captive mule deer in Colorado in 1967, and has been detected in 24 other states and two Canadian provinces.
Biologists believe a protein particle called a prion is transmitted through feces, urine and saliva, and can survive for years in soil and plants. CWD can have an incubation period of at least 16 months, which means infected animals may not show symptoms immediately.
CWD affects an animal’s nervous system. Prions transform normal cellular proteins into abnormal shapes that accumulate until neural cells cease to function. Infected animals begin to lose weight, lose their appetite and develop an insatiable thirst. They tend to separate from their herds, walk in repetitive patterns, carry their head low, salivate, urinate frequently and grind their teeth.
Visit ArkansasCWD.com for more information. 10
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission issued the following press release on December 6, 2017 (https://www.agfc.com/en/news/2017/12/06/biological-samples-reveal-70-new-cases-of-cwd-no-new-counties-affected/):
Biological samples reveal 70 new cases of CWD
Seventy new cases of chronic wasting disease have been found in Arkansas since deer season opened in September, according to samples collected by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologists, taxidermists and veterinarians. Although the number of positive cases is high, no samples from new areas of the state have been found so far. The disease has been found in Boone, Carroll, Madison, Marion, Newton, Pope and Searcy counties since September.
Cory Gray, manager of the AGFC’s Research, Education and Compliance Division, says overall the results have been as good as can be expected.
“We have taken more than 2,400 samples so far this season, and we have several batches of samples still at the laboratory,” Gray said. “But most of the positive cases are reinforcing where we believe the disease is most prevalent. Once we have completed this year’s sampling, we hopefully will have a clearer picture of disease distribution.”
Gray says hunters who turn in samples that come back positive for CWD are being notified as soon as possible, and any hunter can check www.arkansascwd.com to look up their sample’s status to have some added piece of mind. Biologists will work with hunters to collect and dispose of any meat from CWD-positive animals and reinstate their game tag if possible.
“If a positive sample is returned from a county which doesn’t currently have CWD, we will follow our standard protocol and confirm that sample through an additional test,” Gray said. “If that test also comes back positive, we will issue a release to make sure hunters in that area are informed.”
Gray says the AGFC’s partnership with taxidermists around the state continues to be invaluable to both the hunters and the agency.
“Last year we worked with taxidermists to gather samples from deer turned in to be mounted, but this year we’ve really tried to advertise to people that any deer can be taken to one of our participating taxidermists to have a CWD sample pulled for free,” Gray said. “We don’t have the manpower to pull samples all over the state throughout the entire deer season, so this partnership really helps give hunters peace of mind about their deer and helps us continue to monitor for the disease outside the focal area, where we know we have it.”
Any hunter who harvests a deer still can have the animal tested by taking the head with about 6 inches of neck attached to one of the participating taxidermists listed on www.arkansascwd.com.
CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects members of the deer/elk family. It was first described in 1967 in Colorado and since has spread to 23 additional states, Canada, South Korea, 11
and Norway. It was discovered in Arkansas in February 2016, and has since been found in 288 deer or elk in Arkansas after thousands of deer have been tested from across the state.
It is similar to “mad cow disease” in cattle. These diseases are caused by misshapen proteins called prions, which accumulate in the tissues of affected animals, especially the brain, spinal cord, and lymph nodes. Infected animals will not show signs of disease at first, but late in the disease process, they will be thin and may demonstrate weakness, abnormal behavior, excessive thirst or drooling.
There has been no confirmed case of CWD affecting humans or livestock, but with an abundance of caution, the Centers for Disease Control recommends hunters test their harvested game and warns that people should not consume any deer or elk known to have CWD.
The Missouri Department of Conservation issued the following press release on January 8, 2018 (https://mdc.mo.gov/newsroom/mdc-reports-15-new-cases-cwd-out-nearly-18400-deer-tested):
MDC reports 15 new cases of CWD out of nearly 18,400 deer tested
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports 15 free-ranging Missouri deer have tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) out of nearly 18,400 test results received so far for the season. The 15 new cases consist of:
1 from Cedar County from a hunter-harvested adult buck,
3 from Franklin County from hunter-harvested adult bucks,
1 from Jefferson County from a hunter-harvested adult buck,
4 from Linn County from hunter-harvested adult bucks,
2 from Macon County from a hunter-harvested adult buck and a hunter-harvested adult doe,
1 from Polk County from a road-killed adult buck,
1 from St. Clair County from a hunter-harvested adult buck, and
2 from Ste. Genevieve County from a hunter-harvested adult buck and a hunter-harvested adult doe.
MDC also reports no cases of CWD in Missouri were found along the Missouri-Arkansas border. CWD has been found in several hundred deer in northern Arkansas.
For the third year in a row, MDC also reports no additional cases of CWD have been found in central Missouri, where a single case of CWD was confirmed in Cole County in early 2015.
According to MDC, the low number of CWD cases found in new counties (Cedar, Polk, and Ste. Genevieve) suggests the disease was recently introduced to these areas.
MDC also notes mandatory sampling is proving to be critically important in finding new cases in new areas, and additional testing and thinning of deer in the immediate areas where cases are found is helping to limit the spread of the disease. 12
The 18,400 test results MDC has received so far include nearly 16,000 samples collected from hunter-harvested deer during MDC’s CWD mandatory sampling efforts Nov. 11 and 12. Results also include about 2,400 tissue samples collected for CWD testing throughout the state over several months prior to the mandatory sampling weekend and after the mandatory sampling weekend.
“We could not accomplish this very important work without the help of the many thousands of hunters and hundreds of landowners around Missouri who brought in their deer for CWD testing to help find and limit the spread of this terrible disease,” said MDC Director Sara Pauley. “Thank you!”
The 15 new CWD positives bring the total number of CWD cases detected in free-ranging deer in Missouri to 57 with 10 found in Adair, 1 in Cedar, 1 in Cole, 7 in Franklin, 2 in Jefferson, 5 in Linn, 25 in Macon, 1 in Polk, 3 in St. Clair, and 2 in Ste. Genevieve counties.
For more information on samples submitted for testing, results received and pending, and cases of CWD in Missouri, go online to mdc.mo.gov/cwd under “CWD in Missouri.”
MDC continues to receive tissue samples for CWD testing from taxidermists, road-killed and sick deer, and hunter-harvested submissions. MDC will also collect additional tissue samples for CWD testing through March from areas immediately around where new and recent cases of CWD have been found. The Department will share final results in April once all testing done.
Hunters who have had tissue samples collected for CWD testing from their harvested deer can get test results for their deer, as they become available, at mdc.mo.gov/CWDTestResults. MDC personally notifies all hunters that have positive test results for their deer.
CWD is a deadly illness in white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family, called cervids. CWD kills all deer and other cervids it infects. There is no vaccination against the disease and no treatment or cure for infected animals. For more information on CWD, visit mdc.mo.gov/cwd.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) issued the following press release on December 13, 2017 (http://www.michigan.gov/mdard/0,4610,7-125–455332–rss,00.html):
Chronic Wasting Disease Identified in a Mecosta County Farmed Deer
LANSING – Chronic wasting disease was confirmed this week in a one-and-a-half-year-old female deer from a Mecosta County deer farm. CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. The sample was submitted for testing as a part of the state’s CWD surveillance program.
“The deer farmer who submitted the sample has gone above and beyond any state requirements to protect their deer from disease, and it is unknown at this time how this producer’s herd 13
became infected with CWD,” said Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development State Veterinarian James Averill, DVM. “In partnership with the Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we are taking the necessary steps to protect the health and well-being of all of Michigan’s deer populations.”
“What we know about CWD is always evolving,” said DNR state wildlife veterinarian, Kelly Straka, DVM. “As new positives are found, we learn more about how it’s transmitted to determine the best way to protect both free-ranging and farmed deer.”
MDARD and DNR are following the Michigan Surveillance and Response Plan for Chronic Wasting Disease of Free-Ranging and Privately Owned Cervids. The positive farm has been quarantined and, based on the plan, DNR and MDARD will take the following steps:
Conduct trace investigations to find possible areas of spread.
Identify deer farms within the 15-mile radius and implement individual herd plans that explain the CWD testing requirements and movement restrictions for each herd. These herds will also undergo a records audit and fence inspection.
Partner with the USDA on the management of the herd.
CWD is transmitted directly from one animal to another and indirectly through the environment. Infected animals may display abnormal behavior, progressive weight loss and physical debilitation. To date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in humans. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend that infected animals not be consumed as food by either humans or domestic animals.
Since May 2015, when the first free-ranging white-tailed CWD positive deer was found in Michigan, the DNR has tested approximately 23,000 deer. Of those tested, as of December 6, 30 cases of CWD have been suspected or confirmed in deer from Clinton, Ingham, Kent and Montcalm counties. This is the first year any free-ranging deer were found CWD positive in Montcalm or Kent counties.
More information about CWD – including Michigan’s CWD surveillance and response plan – is available at http://www.michigan.gov/cwd.
The Minnesota Board of Animal Health (BAH) issued the following press release on December 8, 2017 (https://www.bah.state.mn.us/news_release/chronic-wasting-disease-update-second-deer-tests-positive-on-winona-county-farm/):
Chronic wasting disease update: second deer tests positive on Winona County farm
Saint Paul – The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has identified another case of CWD in a farmed five-year-old white-tailed buck in Winona County. This is the same farm on which CWD was detected in a three-year-old white-tailed buck last month. The deer was harvested on the farm and samples were collected in November when Board staff visited the farm to establish a 14
quarantine. Positive results were confirmed by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory on December 8. The Board’s investigation of this herd is ongoing.
CWD is a neurodegenerative disease affecting deer, elk and moose (members of the cervid family) and is always fatal. Abnormally shaped proteins called prions cause the disease and convert normal proteins into infectious ones, which eventually leads to the animal’s death. The disease is believed to be spread from one animal to another through direct contact and/or environmental contamination. Infectious prions can be spread via saliva, feces, urine, and other bodily fluids. Consuming infected meat is not advised.
The Minnesota Board of Animal Health (BAH) issued the following press release on November 22, 2017 (https://www.bah.state.mn.us/news_release/chronic-wasting-disease-discovered-in-winona-county-farm/):
Chronic Wasting Disease discovered in Winona County farm
Saint Paul – Routine disease sampling has led to a positive CWD test result in a three-year-old white-tailed buck from a Winona County farmed herd. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health confirmed the results with the USDA, and has already quarantined the herd and begun its disease investigation. The Board also confirmed it has 10 years of records on this registered herd, which show it has a good history of CWD surveillance.
“This herd is a good example of why dedicated, routine, CWD surveillance is important, and producers should never become complacent with the Board’s testing requirements,” said Dr. Linda Glaser, Board of Animal Health assistant director and cervid program manager. “Those testing and movement records will significantly aid in our CWD investigation of this herd.”
The current herd inventory is seven adult white-tailed deer. The next step for the Board is to track movements of deer into and out of the herd within the last five years. If this tracing effort reveals movements to or from other herds within Minnesota, those herds will become part of the investigation. An initial review of the movement records shows the most recent event occurred in April 2016 when three animals were moved out of the herd. The Board regulates farmed deer and elk in the state, while the DNR responds to and manages CWD in wild deer.
“Department of Natural Resources will follow its CWD response plan for wild deer and work with the Board to obtain information needed to develop a strategy specific to this farm,” said Dr. Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for DNR.
The only other currently quarantined cervid herd in Minnesota is in Crow Wing County. The Board recently issued a press release [click this link to read] announcing continued “CWD not detected” testing results from that herd.
CWD is a disease of the deer and elk family caused by an abnormally shaped protein, a prion, which can damage brain and nerve tissue. The disease is most likely transmitted when infected deer and elk shed prions in saliva, feces, urine, and other fluids or tissues. CWD is not known to naturally occur in other animals. The disease is fatal in deer and elk, and there are no known treatments or vaccines. Consuming infected meat is not advised. 15
The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department issued the following press release on December 5, 2017 (http://fwp.mt.gov/news/newsReleases/headlines/nr_4326.html):
Chronic Wasting Disease Found in Deer north of Chester
A mule deer buck shot by a hunter Nov. 12 north of Chester on the Hi-Line near the Canadian border has tested positive for chronic wasting disease.
The deer was taken in hunting district 401 in Liberty County.
The test results mark the fifth incident of CWD discovered in Montana wild deer this fall. The other four deer came from south of Billings. Until this year, CWD had not been found in Montana, though the disease exists in wild deer herds in Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
In anticipation of the disease coming to Montana, FWP recently updated its CWD response plan, and FWP director Martha Williams has assembled an incident command team to respond to the detection near Billings. FWP is in the process of putting together a team for the latest detection north of Chester.
An incident command team will define an initial response area (IRA) around where the infected animal was harvested, and may recommend a special CWD hunt. The specifics of this hunt would be determined by the incident command team.
FWP is currently organizing a hunt to respond to the detections in south central Montana. This hunt will come before the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission at their meeting Thursday in Helena for final approval.
It has not been determined yet if a special CWD hunt will occur at the site of the latest detection north of Chester. Currently, there is no general deer hunting season open near where the deer was harvested in HD 401.
CWD can only be effectively detected in samples from dead animals. CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. It is part of a group of diseases called Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs). TSEs are caused by infectious, mis-folded prion proteins, which cause normal prion proteins throughout a healthy animal’s body to mis-fold, resulting in organ damage and eventual death.
Though there is no evidence CWD is transmissible to humans, it is recommended to never ingest meat from animals that appear to be sick or are known to be CWD positive. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters who have harvested a deer, elk, or moose from a known CWD-infected area have the animal tested prior to consuming it. If hunters 16
harvest an animal that appears to be sick, the best thing to do is contact FWP and have the animal inspected.
Some simple precautions should be taken when field dressing deer, elk or moose:
Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when field dressing.
Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.
Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. (Normal field dressing coupled with boning out of a carcass will essentially remove these parts.)
For more information on CWD and FWP’s response, please look online at fwp.mt.gov/CWD. You can email CWDresponse@mt.gov.
Dehydration of prions on environmentally relevant surfaces protects them from inactivation by freezing and thawing
Qi Yuan, Glenn Telling, Shannon L. Bartelt-Hunt and Jason C. Bartz
- Virol. JVI.02191-17; Accepted manuscript posted online 31 January 2018, doi: 10.1128/JVI.02191-17.
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an emerging prion disease in North America. Recent identification of CWD in wild cervids from Norway raises the concern of the spread of CWD in Europe. CWD infectivity can enter the environment through live animal excreta and carcasses where it can bind to soil. Well-characterized hamster prion strains and CWD field isolates in unadsorbed or soil-adsorbed forms that were either hydrated or dehydrated were subjected to repeated rounds of freezing and thawing. We found that 500 cycles of repeated freezing and thawing of hydrated samples significantly decreased the abundance of PrPSc and reduced PMCA seeding activity that could be rescued by binding to soil. Importantly, dehydration prior to freezing and thawing treatment largely protected PrPSc from degradation and the samples maintained PMCA seeding activity. We hypothesize that redistribution of water molecules during freezing and thawing process alters the stability of PrPSc aggregates. Overall, these results have significant implications for the assessment of prion persistence in the environment.
Prions excreted into the environment by infected animals, such as elk and deer infected with chronic wasting disease, persist for years thus facilitate horizontal transmission of the disease. Understanding the fate of prions in the environment is essential to control prion disease transmission. The significance of our study is to provide information on the possibility of prion degradation and inactivation under natural weathering processes. This information is significant 17
for remediation of prion contaminated environment and development of prion disease control strategies.
Efficient prion disease transmission through common environmental materials
Sandra Pritzkow, Rodrigo Morales, Adam Lyon, Luis Concha-Marambio, Akihiko Urayama and Claudio Soto
- Biol. Chem. Published online January 12, 2018. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M117.810747
Prion diseases are a group of fatal neurodegenerative diseases associated with a protein-based infectious agent, termed prion. Compelling evidence suggests that natural transmission of prion diseases is mediated by environmental contamination with infectious prions. We hypothesized that several natural and man-made materials, commonly found in the environments of wild and captive animals, can bind prions and may act as vectors for disease transmission. To test our hypothesis, we exposed surfaces composed of various common environmental materials (i.e. wood, rocks, plastic, glass, cement, stainless steel, aluminum, and brass) to hamster-adapted 263K scrapie prions and studied their attachment and retention of infectivity in vitro and in vivo. Our results indicated that these surfaces, with the sole exception of brass, efficiently bind, retain, and release prions. Prion replication was studied in vitro using the protein misfolding cyclic amplification technology and infectivity of surface-bound prions was analyzed by intra-cerebrally challenging hamsters with contaminated implants. Our results revealed that virtually all prion-contaminated materials transmitted the disease at high rates. To investigate a more natural form of exposure to environmental contamination, we simply housed animals with large contaminated spheres made of the different materials under study, instead of injecting them with prion materials. Strikingly, most of the hamsters developed classical clinical signs of prion disease and typical disease-associated brain changes. Our findings suggest that prion contamination of surfaces commonly present in the environment can be a source of disease transmission, thus expanding our understanding of the mechanisms for prion spreading in nature.