The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation today announced that it has received the remainder of test results for chronic wasting disease (CWD) that were part of intensive sampling efforts in central New York. DEC has received two positive results for the disease out of 292 wild deer sampled.

The first positive result in a wild deer was announced on April 27, 2005 and came from a yearling white-tailed deer sampled from the Town of Verona, Oneida County. The second positive result is from a 3-year-old doe, located within a mile of the location where the initial positive result was detected. The sample tissues were tested at the State’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Cornell University. These are the first known occurrences of CWD in wild deer in New York State.

DEC implemented intensive monitoring efforts after CWD was found in two captive white-tailed deer herds in Oneida County – the first incidents of CWD in New York State. On April 8, 2005, the State Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) completed testing of the captive deer and found a total of five positive results for CWD in the two captive herds.

DEC, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program, completed intensive monitoring on April 30, 2005. The effort resulted in 290 samples of wild deer from Oneida County, two from neighboring Madison County, and 25 wild deer from the Town of Arietta, Hamilton County. Since 2002, DEC has conducted statewide sampling of wild deer for CWD. When combined with sampling efforts in Oneida and Hamilton Counties, DEC has collected more than 3,700 samples from wild white-tailed deer.

DEC and DAM will continue public outreach to interested parties in central New York to help educate citizens on CWD and to discuss next steps to be taken. The agencies will hold a public meeting on Thursday, May 12, 2005, at 7 p.m. in the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School Auditorium, located on State Highway 31 in the Town of Verona. In addition, DEC and DAM will conduct additional outreach and continue to aggressively pursue inspection and enforcement across the State.

DAM continues to investigate, sample and test white-tailed deer from two captive herds directly associated with the two herds that were confirmed positive for CWD in Oneida County. Results for these sampling efforts will be announced when available.

Statewide sampling for CWD – which has resulted in more than 1,000 tests each year – will be increased to closely monitor the distribution and prevalence of CWD in wild deer. In addition, DEC has implemented emergency regulations regarding the handling, transport and management of deer in the State. The emergency regulations are currently in effect and represent an aggressive response to the recent discovery of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Oneida County.

DEC’s emergency regulations are designed to ensure the proper handling of deer and prevent further spread of CWD in the wild herd. The emergency regulations are effective for 90 days. In addition, DEC will begin the process of developing permanent regulations, which will appear in the State Register and include a 45-day public comment period.

CWD is a transmissible disease that affects the brain and central nervous system of certain deer and elk. There is no evidence that CWD is linked to disease in humans or domestic livestock other than deer and elk. More information on CWD can be found at DEC’s website at www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/wildlife/deer/currentcwd.html