Preliminary results of tests conducted on brain tissue samples of 150 deer and elk collected in Nevada during the past year have all tested negative for chronic wasting disease (CWD), according to Dr. Dan Crowell of the Nevada Department of Agriculture.
Crowell, a senior veterinary diagnostician, said Nevada has been participating in a national effort to monitor for CWD, a disease of the central nervous system of cervids, such as deer and elk. Since testing began in the state in 1998, nearly 950 animals have been tested and none were found to have the disease. Results from a few of the more recently collected samples have not yet been received from the lab that does the testing.
“Our participation with the U.S Department of Agriculture in the survey does not necessarily mean that it (CWD) is in the state,” said Crowell. “Rather, we think that this testing is the responsible thing to do.”
Working with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, researchers have been concentrating their recent efforts at collecting brain samples from deer and elk in the eastern portion of the state near the Utah border. This is because CWD has been found in central Utah, the only state bordering Nevada where the disease has been discovered.
Crowell said that the disease has not been found in Utah deer and elk herds that are immediately adjacent to Nevada.
Over the past year, researchers have made efforts to collect brain tissue samples from deer and elk that have been obtained from hunter harvests, those that have been killed in collisions with automobiles and animals that show some of the symptoms that are consistent with CWD. None of the animals that showed symptoms of illness were found to have the disease.
Even though chronic wasting disease has not been found in Nevada, Crowell said monitoring of Nevada deer and elk herds for the CWD will continue for the foreseeable future.
Information about CWD and hunting in Nevada are available online at www.ndow.org.