Wisconsin, Colorado to get $6 million for CWD

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May. 31, 2002  

Wisconsin, Colorado to get $6 million to combat chronic wasting disease in deer and elk

SARAH WYATT, Associated Press Writer

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin and Colorado will receive $6 million in federal aid to combat a fatal brain disease in deer and elk and other plant and animal threats.

The money - $3.5 million for Wisconsin and $2.5 million for Colorado - is part of more than $43 million in federal money the Agriculture Department is making available nationwide to protect food supplies.

While it is not specifically earmarked to fight chronic wasting disease, the additional funds for disease detection, response and tracking will help states whose deer and elk populations are at risk from the disease.

Portions of the money also will be used for plant pest and disease detection.

Kansas, which has also identified cases of wasting disease in its captive deer and elk populations, will get $1.7 million.

In Wisconsin, much of the money will go for improvements at the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory, which is in the process of seeking certification for chronic wasting disease testing, Gov. Scott McCallum said Friday.

"CWD is a real threat to the health of our deer herd and our hunting heritage in Wisconsin," he said.

The state lab also would act as a regional or national laboratory in case of a widespread disease outbreak, USDA Deputy Secretary James Moseley said.

Eighteen deer killed in southwestern Wisconsin have tested positive for the disease, and state officials now want to kill all the estimated 15,000 deer in a 361-square-mile area to prevent it from spreading. The state Department of Natural Resources is offering landowners permits to kill deer on their property next month as part of the eradication effort.

Chronic wasting disease is a relative of mad cow disease in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. Infected animals become weak and develop brain lesions. The disease is always fatal, but is not believed to be transmissible outside of deer or elk.

The discovery near Mt. Horeb was the first time the disease was found east of the Mississippi River. It previously had been found in deer and elk in parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, Montana, Oklahoma and South Dakota and in Canada.

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On The Net:

U.S. Department of Agriculture: http://www.usda.gov/
 


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