CODY – A white-tailed deer harvested on Oct. 15 in deer hunt area 165 in the Bighorn Basin has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), a brain disease known to affect some deer, elk, and moose. The deer was harvested near the Greybull River.
CWD is a fatal neurological disease of deer, elk, and moose and with the discovery of the deer in this hunt area, 15of the 39 deer areas in the Big Horn Basin are known CWD areas.
Personnel at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department Laboratory analyzed samples taken as part of the department’s annual CWD survey and discovered positive results for the deer. To date this is the only new area that has had a positive CWD test this year.
WGFD wildlife disease specialist Hank Edwards said the discovery of CWD in that area was not unexpected since there have been positive tests in animals in surrounding areas 122 to the north and 124 to the east.
After a review of available scientific data, the World Health Organization in December 1999 stated, “There is currently no evidence that CWD in cervidae (deer and elk) is transmitted to humans.” In 2004, Dr. Ermias Belay of the Center for Disease Control said, “The lack of evidence of a link between CWD transmission and unusual cases of CJD, [Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a human prion disease] despite several epidemiological investigations, suggest that the risk, if any, of transmission of CWD to humans is low.” Nonetheless to avoid risk, both organizations say parts or products from any animal that looks sick and/or tests positive for CWD should not be eaten.
For more information on chronic wasting disease visit the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website at www.cwd-info.org.