CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has finished its fourth year of comprehensive Chronic Wasting Disease surveillance and added two deer hunt areas and two elk hunt areas to its list of areas where CWD has been detected.
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological disease that affects deer, elk and moose. Animals show no signs of illness throughout much of the disease’s course. In terminal stages of CWD, animals typically are emaciated and display abnormal behavior. There is no confirmed link between CWD and any human illness.
Game and Fish personnel collected 4,653 deer, elk and moose samples in 2006. Of those, 116 animals tested positive for CWD – 88 mule deer, 13 white-tailed deer and 15 elk.
New cases of CWD were diagnosed in deer hunt area 4 east of Sundance, deer hunt area 11 in Niobrara and Weston counties and elk hunt areas 16 and 22 in northern Carbon County.
“We’re concerned that CWD continues to spread to new parts of the state, but it’s not a surprise that CWD was found in these areas,” said Scott Talbott, Assistant Wildlife Division Chief with the Game and Fish. “It has previously been found in hunt areas adjacent to these new areas, including east of deer hunt area 4 in South Dakota. We plan to continue monitoring the disease throughout the state in future years.”
Samples were collected by Game and Fish personnel at hunter check stations and meat processors throughout the state as well as road-killed animals and targeted animals showing signs of the disease. Hunters participating in the surveillance program could check the results of their sample by accessing the department’s website, and hunters whose deer or elk tested positive for CWD were notified individually by mail. The department also notified other state wildlife agencies by mail if a hunter from their state harvested a CWD positive animal.
The Game and Fish began testing moose for CWD last year. In 2006, the department tested 36 moose. No positive moose were diagnosed.
For more information on CWD and the department’s surveillance program, visit the Game and Fish Web site at http://gf.state.wy.us.