CWD detected in 3 Wisconsin whitetail

spectr17

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Chronic Wasting Disease detected in three Wisconsin deer

Wisconsin DNR Reports.

Madison — Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was detected in samples taken from three deer registered during Wisconsin's November 2001 Deer Gun Hunting season, state officials announced on Thursday, Feb. 28. All three samples were taken from deer killed in Deer Management Unit 70A (Iowa and Dane counties) and registered in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin. All three were bucks two and one-half to three years old. CWD is not known to be contagious to livestock or humans.

According to Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services Epidemiologist James Kazmierczak, CWD is similar to a disease of humans called Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (CJD), but the two diseases are caused by different agents, and should not be confused with each other. Kazmierczak pointed out that the World Health Organization (WHO) has said there is no scientific evidence that CWD can infect humans. Over 16 years of monitoring in the CWD-infected area in Colorado has found no CWD in people or cattle living in that region. For safety’s sake, however, experts suggest that hunters should avoid eating the brain, spinal cord, eyes, tonsils, spleen or lymph nodes of white-tailed deer and elk because the infectious agent tends to concentrate in those tissues. The World Health Organization has recommended no part of deer or elk that show evidence of CWD should be eaten by people.

“We are just at the front end of evaluating the scope of the problem. We need to interview the hunters who let us sample their deer, find out exactly where the deer were taken and whether these deer exhibited unusual behavior,” said Julia Langenberg, DNR veterinarian and administrator of the deer testing program.

“Results from the other 400 deer tested in the state will be available soon and will be communicated to hunters -- especially those in the Mount Horeb area -- as soon as possible,” Langenberg said. State officials also noted there is no threat to cattle or sheep.

We can assure the public that CWD is NOT the same disease as Scrapie in sheep or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in cattle. Transmission of CWD from deer to cattle under free-roaming conditions is extremely unlikely,” according to Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Assistant State Veterinarian Bob Ehlenfeldt. “Scientists at the National Animal Disease Center injected CWD infected disease materials directly into cow brains and cattle did not develop any signs of the disease.”

The hunters who submitted the deer tissue samples are being notified by state conservation wardens today (February 28). How the deer became infected is not known at this time, but a study will be conducted to try to determine a source.

DNR, DATCP and DHFS are working jointly to respond to this disease problem. Once the information from the hunters and other test results are known, the agencies will be taking additional surveillance and control steps.

The agencies are consulting with experienced CWD experts in Colorado and Wyoming where the disease is known to exist, and at USDA, to develop plans to control the disease in Wisconsin.

Informational material is being developed for hunters, deer and elk farmers and the public.
Scientists test for CWD by examining the brain tissue of animals. Since 1996 the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has conducted an aggressive deer herd health evaluation program by requesting tissue and blood samples from deer taken by hunters to test for bovine tuberculosis, Cranial Abscessation Syndrome and CWD. This is the first time CWD has appeared in samples. Sampling has never detected Bovine Tuberculosis in Wisconsin deer.

Currently 44 farm-raised elk herds are enrolled in a voluntary CWD surveillance program with DATCP. These herds have tested over 100 animals that have all been negative for CWD.

CWD has been diagnosed in wild, free-ranging deer and elk primarily in northeastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming, and in adjacent Nebraska. There has been no general caution issued against eating deer or elk in the infected Western areas. CWD has also been found in captive elk in Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, South Dakota and Saskatchewan.

Researchers are just beginning to understand CWD. It is likely caused by an abnormal protein called a prion. The mechanism of spread for CWD is unknown but could involve close contact between animals, or animals exposed to a CWD-infected environment. Usually months to years pass from the time an animal is infected to when it shows signs of the disease. Classic CWD signs in deer and elk 18 months or older include poor body condition, tremors, stumbling, increased salivation, difficulty swallowing, and excessive thirst or urination. There is no live animal test for CWD, but an experimental live-testing method looks promising.

“We are obviously very concerned, but are also encouraged that our state monitoring has revealed the problem so that we can take steps to deal with it,” Langenberg said.

For more information the Animal Health Division of DATCP can be contacted at 608-224-4872. Also available is a “Keeping Deer Healthy” fact sheet on DNR's Web site; also available on the Web: http//:www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/cwd.htm leaving DNR Web site.  
 



Finz

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This is a sad day for Wisconsin hunters.   I cannot help but believe this was brought into the state by all the elk farms in this area of the state.  In my opinion, the only way to have prevented this would have been to ban import of elk into the state when this disease was first discovered.   I own land only 1 county over from this area and if the disease is found to be spreading I will be hopping mad.  The ones who for brought the disease in need to be held legally and financially responsible.
 

spectr17

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Hello Finz,

Missouri stopped their elk transplant because they wanted to wait and see how this panned out. It looks like they did right but there are a few of the elk farms in Missouri already.Hope your deer season isn't ruined  because of this.

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Deer diary: Officials try to manage crisis

March 13, 2002

Dale Bowman/Chicago Sun

The discovery of chronic wasting disease in Wiscon-sin, 40 miles north of the Illinois border, has officials in three states moving into crisis- management mode.

Over the next several days, Wisconsin officials will begin asking landowners to kill 500 whitetail deer for testing near Mount Horeb, which is northwest of Rockford.

On Feb. 28, the National Veterinary Services Laboratory notified Wisconsin officials that three deer checked at the Mount Horeb station during the fall gun season had CWD, the first instance of the disease east of the Mississippi River.

Last week, Wisconsin officials flew helicopter surveys around the Mount Horeb area and decided to begin killing deer for testing, which must be done on brain stems.

"This is a significant disease for deer, and we don't know a lot about it,'' said Tom Hauge , wildlife director for Wisconsin. "It's a serious concern. From what we have seen out West, it's a persistent disease.''

CWD comes from the same group of diseases, transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, as mad cow disease. At this point, CWD has not been shown to affect humans or livestock. The disease, which is fatal, attacks the brains of mule deer, whitetail deer and elk. The mechanism that spreads the disease is unknown, but close contact is a contributing factor.

That is why officials in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois are moving quickly. CWD has not been found yet in Minnesota and Illinois. For nearly two decades, the disease was largely confined to northern Colorado and southern Wyoming.

"It's a whole different world with it east of the Mississippi with our high-density deer herds,'' said John Buhnerkempe, acting chief of Wildlife Resources for Illinois.

Out West, deer populations average about two per square mile. In Illinois, that average is around 30 per square mile and in some troubled suburban areas is as high as 90 per square mile. Over winter months, deer herd increase even more.

Late Friday, Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Department of Agriculture officials held an emergency meeting.

"We have to be able to make decisions real fast,'' Buhnerkempe said. But they are not opting for quarantines or other extreme measures in Illinois yet.

"There are no plans to put deer down [kill them] at this point,'' Buhnerkempe said. "We are looking at expanding our monitoring program. We are trying to be proactive to avoid the spread of the disease.''

The Illinois DNR will be on the lookout for sick animals that display symptoms, including loss of weight, listlessness and a general debilitation. The DNR will be testing brain stems from fresh road kill and nuisance animals. Buhnerkempe is hoping a state lab in Downstate Centralia will be able to assist with testing, otherwise the brain stems must be sent out of state.

No general health advisories have been issued. The World Health Organization recommends not eating infected tissue, but typically neurological tissue such as brains or spines aren't eaten anyway.

In Minnesota, a voluntary testing program is under way for the disease and a prohibition is up for importing game animals from regions with CWD.
 

INshedpicker

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How well does CWD spread in cold weather?  I only ask because anthrax will not live in cold weather, and thus, outbreaks usually occur during warm months and the cycle ends with winter.  Is this accurate?  Are there similarities in the two diseases?  Is there any good news?
 

jayber

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Hope it doesn't make its way into neighboring states......especially N. IL where I hunt!
 

sven

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In the outdoors section of the local Sunday paper, there was an article stating that 2 out of 74 deer tested from the Wisconsin kill have tested positive for CWD.  That brings the total up to 5.
 


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