CWD UPDATE 61 July 6, 2005

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish reports three additional positives. Two of these are from the research project in the Organ Mountains on White Sands Missile Range, where the previous positives were found. The third one is from the Sacramento Mountains near the resort village of Timberon, New Mexico. The two positives from White Sands showed no obvious physical signs of having the disease. They were captured in April 2005 and tested as part of a 3-year-old research project studying deer population dynamics in southern New Mexico. More than 140 deer have been captured alive and tested for the study, in which researchers hope to find the cause of a 10-year decline in the area deer population. The positive from the Sacramento Mountains was an old doe in poor condition that was reported on June 5 but not found until June 6. The Sacramento Mountains are approximately 50 miles E of the White Sands location.

South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks is reporting a total of 11 positive animals (7 deer, 4 elk) in the testing period of July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005. South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks have found 7 cases of CWD (4 deer, 3 elk) in free ranging animals, and Wind Cave National Park has found 4 cases of CWD (3 deer and 1 elk) during this same period. To date, South Dakota has found 33 cases of CWD (24 deer and 9 elk) in free ranging deer and elk since testing began in 1997. Wind Cave National Park accounts for 12 of these animals (4 elk, 8 deer). A total of 9,053 wild deer and elk have been tested for CWD since 1997.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife and Heritage Service announced that there was no sign of chronic wasting disease in white-tailed deer and sika deer harvested in the 2004-2005 muzzleloader and firearms deer-hunting season. A total of 872 free-ranging deer (861 white-tailed deer and 11 sika deer) were tested out of nearly 75,000 deer harvested during the muzzleloader and firearms hunting seasons as part of the state’s ongoing effort to detect the introduction of the disease into Maryland. The state’s current sampling effort was designed such that if 1 percent of the deer in either population had CWD, there is a 98 percent chance the disease would be detected.

The second case of BSE has been confirmed in the United States. This animal was first tested in November of 2004 and gave a presumptive positive but additional testing did not detect BSE. However, at the urging of their solicitors office, APHIS had the sample retested using additional methods and also sent a sample to the World Reference Laboratory in Weybridge, England. These tests confirmed BSE in the animal from Texas. Interestingly, the strain does not appear to be similar to the British strain found in the first positive in Washington State but appears to be more closely linked to the French strain, indicating a separate source of infection. This positive was born and raised in the Texas herd and was approximately 12 years old. Because of this finding, USDA-APHIS has modified their test protocol where all presumptive positives will be run on both IHC and western blot for confirmatory testing.

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