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CWD/Prion News

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  • Indiana lawmakers discuss deer import ban, as feds decide against it published on Aug 19, 2014
    Federal agricultural officials say they will not restrict the interstate shipment of captive deer despite disease concerns raised by scientists and six members of Congress.
  • Indiana DNR calls scientific heavy hitters to captive-deer hearing published on Aug 18, 2014
    For years, the state agency with the most at stake in the ongoing legislative debate over what to do about the disease-prone captive-deer industry has been largely silent.Instead, the loudest voices lawmakers heard were from hunting-preserve owners and deer farmers who have lobbied hard against any effort to strongly regulate the industry because they say it will hurt rural Hoosier economies.That's going to change on Tuesday.Officials at Indiana's Department of Natural Resources have asked four out-of-state wildlife disease experts to testify before the 14-member Agriculture and Natural Resources Interim Study Committee.
  • 1 in 4 deer in Iowa, western Dane counties has chronic wasting disease published on Feb 26, 2014
  • Chronic wasting disease: forgotten, but not gone published on Oct 23, 2013
  • Patrick Durkin: CWD puzzle only getting harder to put together published on Oct 23, 2013
  • Lawmakers seek review of captive deer industry published on May 03, 2013
  • published on Aug 21, 2012
    SPOONER, WI Two Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologists and a Chronic Wasting Disease expert will take part in an informational CWD public meeting at Spooner High School tonight, Tuesday Aug. 21.The public meeting is being co-sponsored by the Shell Lake CWD Citizen Advisory Committee, who is bringing in guest speaker, Bryan Richards, CWD project leader for the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center in Madison.
  • Threat to Texas hunting season surfaces published on Jul 11, 2012
    SAN ANGELO, Texas The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department has known for months that some mule deer in the Hueco Mountains region of New Mexico were confirmed to have chronic wasting disease.However, when department officials received a call in February telling them that mule deer close to the Texas border had been confirmed with CWD, state biologists quickly sprang into action."Within two weeks we had harvested and tested 31 mule deer. After lengthy and intensive testing, we learned last week that two of them taken from the Hueco Mountains of northern El Paso and Hudspeth counties tested positive for the disease," said Clayton Wolf, Wildlife Division director for the TPWD.The annual mule deer harvest in Texas represents 3 percent of deer taken annually, but the real concern among many is that CWD can be passed to the Texas whitetail population. Deer hunting in Texas is a $2.2 billion per year industry."We don't want to be alarmist over the situation, but when mule deer and whitetail interact, the disease can be spread," Wolf said. "The population of both mule deer and whitetail in the Trans-Pecos is small compared to other regions of Texas, but we will be expanding our sampling to include whitetails in Far West Texas.""Incubation of CWD may take from two to five years to show up, so we are challenged to keep up with the testing process," Wolf said.Gary Joiner, CEO of the Texas Wildlife Association, declined to speculate as to what damage CWD could do to the Texas whitetail population and hunting revenue.He said: "Our efforts are focused on containment of the situation we have in West Texas. We have the proper steps and people in place to deal with it."There is no cure of CWD in animals, and it's always fatal and may linger in deer for years.The TPWD declined to reveal the exact location of the mule deer that tested positive.Wolf and Steve Sturtz, Tom Green County agricultural and natural resources extension agent for Texas AgriLife Extension in San Angelo, said there is no indication the disease can be transferred to humans or livestock."Containment of the disease is now the objective," said Carter Smith, TPWD executive director. In addition to white-tailed deer, CWD can be passed to red deer, sika and free-ranging elk.As part of the containment program, game wardens, Texas DPS officers and other state agencies near the affected areas will be on the lookout for fresh road-killed mule deer to be tested. More field tests also will be conducted.Steve Lightfoot, spokesman for the TPWD, said deer hunters can expect to see mandatory mule deer check stations during the upcoming 2012 Texas mule deer season."The exact locations and numbers of stations have not been established. The Texas Wildlife Commission is due to meet in August, and specific instructions will come after that session," Lightfoot said.TPWD Commission Chairman T. Dan Franklin said: "We take the presence of this disease very seriously and have a plan to deal with it. The department will do whatever is prudent and reasonable to protect the state's deer resources and our hunting heritage."Bryan Richards, disease investigator for the U.S. Geological Survey National Health Center in Madison, Wis., says Texas is the 20th state with a detected case of CWD.Texas has the largest national deer population, around 5 million animals. An estimated 565,000 deer are harvested annually in Texas; less than 5 percent of them are mule deer.The Texas Wildlife Association, which represents more than 6,000 members including deer breeders, booking agents, landowners and hunters praised the TPWD's swift action in dealing with the CWD findings. TWA represents owners of more than 40 million acres in Texas."The Texas Wildlife Association is confident in the containment strategy and response of state wildlife and animal health authorities in the wake of the July 10 announcement that samples from two mule deer have been confirmed as positive for CWD," said association President Glen Webb, of Abilene.Greg Simons, booking agent and owner of Wildlife Systems in San Angelo, is a TWA board member.
  • Durkin: Stewardship funds shouldn't be raided for CWD published on Mar 28, 2011
    Wisconsin used $465,000 from its cherished Stewardship Fund this past week to buy an 80-acre farm that will remain closed to the public indefinitely because it once housed North America's worst case of chronic wasting disease.
  • Wisconsin's CWD road isn't one to follow published on Mar 12, 2011
    When Minnesota joined the growing number of states with chronic wasting disease detected in wild deer, the Department of Natural Resources said that the ideal situation would be to follow the path taken in New York.The nightmare scenario would be to replicate what happened in Wisconsin, Colorado and Wyoming.Five years ago in New York, two captive deer and two wild deer were found with CWD, said Bryan Richards, a U.S. Geological Service CWD team leader at the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis. New York aggressively culled the herd in the infected area, and so far, no more deer have been found with the disease.
  • Hunters: DNR should rethink strategy to deal with deer disease published on Feb 19, 2011
    Tim Brugger longs for the days when white-tailed deer were a common sight on his four-acre, wooded property in South Beloit.When we moved in here, it was nothing to see 14 or 15 deer at a time, Brugger, 49, said.Five years later he rarely sees one.Brugger and other hunters put the blame on the state Department of Natural Resources. Deer herds have been reduced in northern Illinois as part of the DNR strategy to combat chronic wasting disease, an incurable deer disorder believed to be passed by deer-to-deer contact.
  • Chronic Wasting Disease Found In A White-Tailed Deer In Maryland published on Feb 14, 2011
    The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) received laboratory confirmation on February 10, 2011 that a white-tailed deer harvested in Maryland tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). This is the first confirmed case of CWD in Maryland. A hunter in Allegany County reported taking the deer on November 27, 2010 in Green Ridge State Forest. Maryland joins 20 other states and Canadian provinces with CWD documented in deer, elk or moose.
  • Managing Chronic Wasting Disease published on Jan 27, 2011
    The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, has confirmed that a deer harvested by a hunter in November 2010 near Pine Island in southeastern Minnesota had Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which is fatal to deer, elk and moose but not known to affect humans or cattle. The diagnosis, which was confirmed Jan. 25, marks the first time CWD has been found in Minnesota's wild deer herd.
  • Buck near Ashland tests positive for CWD published on Nov 12, 2010
    A white-tailed deer from a shooting preserve in northern Wisconsin has tested positive on a screening test for chronic wasting disease, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection."We've had the initial positive but we are waiting for confirmation from another lab," said Lee Sensenbrenner, DATCP spokesman. "We want to make sure it's not a false positive before making any formal announcements."
  • Chronic wasting disease detected in 1st Utah elk published on Mar 11, 2010
    The first case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in an Utah elk has been confirmed by state wildlife officials.Lymph nodes from 1,400 animals -- the bulk of them mule deer and elk, but also some moose -- were collected last fall during the hunting seasons.Results from Utah State University were returned to Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) officials recently. Five of the mule deer samples came back as positive for CWD, a fatal and transmissible neurological disease.
  • CWD confirmed south of TransCanada published on Feb 04, 2010
    Following the 2009 hunting season, the province of Saskatchewan received 3,200 deer heads to sample for chronic wasting disease. Testing, not quite complete, has shown 38 new positive cases within Saskatchewan in 2009.
  • Sixteen New CWD Cases Found in Hampshire County (WV) published on Jan 16, 2010
    The slow growth and spread of chronic wasting disease continues in West Virginia. DNR Biologists report 16 deer killed by hunters in the 2009 deer season tested positive for the presence of CWD. The DNR pulled those positives from 1,091 deer killed by hunters in Hampshire at local checking stations during the season.
  • Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Susceptibility of Several North American Rodents That Are Sympatric with Cervid CWD Epidemics published on Jan 15, 2010
    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a highly contagious always fatal neurodegenerative disease that is currently known to naturally infect only species of the deer family, Cervidae. CWD epidemics are occurring in free-ranging cervids at several locations in North America, and other wildlife species are certainly being exposed to infectious material. To assess the potential for transmission, we intracerebrally inoculated four species of epidemic-sympatric rodents with CWD. Transmission was efficient in all species; the onset of disease was faster in the two vole species than the two Peromyscus spp. The results for inocula prepared from CWD-positive deer with or without CWD-resistant genotypes were similar. Survival times were substantially shortened upon second passage, demonstrating adaptation. Unlike all other known prion protein sequences for cricetid rodents that possess asparagine at position 170, our red-backed voles expressed serine and refute previous suggestions that a serine in this position substantially reduces susceptibility to CWD. Given the scavenging habits of these rodent species, the apparent persistence of CWD prions in the environment, and the inevitable exposure of these rodents to CWD prions, our intracerebral challenge results indicate that further investigation of the possibility of natural transmission is warranted.
  • Pat Durkin column: Wishful thinking won't cure CWD published on Nov 05, 2009
    Although Wisconsin is home to North America's worst outbreak of chronic wasting disease in white-tailed deer, and although its prevalence has steadily worsened since its discovery in February 2002, our lawmakers, DNR brass and many hunters just keep smiling as sand fills the hole where they've stuck their heads. Talk about the power of faith-based beliefs. How can anyone look at 2008 data from our own laboratories and think CWD is stalling or disappearing? Those numbers show record-high CWD prevalence for the 210-square-mile core area west of Madison.For bucks 2.5 years and older, last year's infection rate exceeded 15 percent after hovering around 10 percent since 2002. Other 2008 infection rates follow:1.5-year-old bucks: 6 percent, after sitting at 3 percent since 2002.1.5-year-old females: 5.25 percent, up from 3.25 percent in 2007, which is five straight years the disease increased in this group.2.5-year-old does: 6.5 percent, up from 5 percent in 2006 and 2007.In addition, when Wisconsin's Inter-Agency CWD Health and Science team met July 28 and reviewed research by the National Wildlife Health Center, they learned CWD is most likely to take hold in high-density herds. Such herds remain common in the southern two-thirds of Wisconsin.
  • Wis. wasting disease rise could mean trouble for W.Va. published on May 07, 2009
    Biologists say a recent jump in chronic wasting disease rates among Wisconsin deer might spell trouble for deer in West Virginia's Hampshire County.
  • CWD forces more than 100 elk into quarantine - Saskatchewan published on Apr 16, 2009
    The second case this year of Chronic Wasting Disease in Saskatchewan has put an elk herd of more than 100 in quarantine.The Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed that a single elk suffered from the incurable disease, and then penned the entire herd, said CFIA animal health program manager Connie Argue.
  • Common soil mineral degrades the nearly indestructible prion published on Jan 14, 2009
    In addition to being perhaps the weirdest infectious agent know to science, the prion is also the most durable. It resists almost every method of destruction from fire and ionizing radiation to chemical disinfectants and autoclaving, which reduce prion infectivity but fail to completely eliminate it. Now, however, a team of Wisconsin researchers has found that a common soil mineral, an oxidized from of manganese known as birnessite, can penetrate the prion's armor and degrade the protein.
  • Buck at Jefferson County preserve had chronic wasting disease published on Dec 19, 2008
    Buck at Jefferson County preserve had chronic wasting disease By Lee Bergquist of the Journal Sentinel Posted: Dec. 19, 2008A 7-year-old buck from a Jefferson County hunting preserve has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, state agriculture officials reported Friday. The white-tailed deer was killed Dec. 1 as part of an effort by the owner of the 53-acre preserve to cull his herd and repopulate it with new stock, said Donna Gilson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Two deer remain on the preserve and will be killed. They have been quarantined by State Veterinarian Robert Ehlenfeldt. Gilson said the agriculture department will trace any possible movement of deer from the preserve to other captive facilities. The hunting preserve, Maple Hill Whitetails, is owned by Steve Hookstead of Helenville. According to the preserve's Web site, the business offers hunts, and breeding and genetics services. Hookstead was unavailable for comment.Hookstead's breeding herd will not be killed because the deer are separated from the hunting preserve by a fence, Gilson said. Chronic wasting disease was discovered in wild deer in Wisconsin in 2002. Since then, 98 deer and one elk have tested positive from nine captive facilities. More than 22,500 farm-raised deer and elk have been tested.Chronic wasting disease is always fatal and affects deer, elk and moose. The disease is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, a class of diseases that includes mad cow disease in cattle, scrapie in sheep and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. According to the World Health Organization, any tissue that may have come from deer with CWD should not be eaten, but there is no evidence the disease can be transmitted to humans.
  • Researchers tackle fatal brain disease published on Nov 21, 2008
    WYOMING (2008-11-21) Peter O'Dowd reports on the efforts in Wyoming and around the country to manage Chronic Wasting Disease.
  • DNR says chronic wasting disease increasing in parts of state published on Nov 07, 2008
    In its first long-term analysis of how to manage chronic wasting disease in Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources acknowledged this week that the fatal deer disease can't be eliminated in some parts of the state.
  • CWD changing hunting landscape published on Nov 02, 2008
    The bloom came off New York's rose in 2005, when chronic wasting disease -- a fatal, contagious neurological disease of deer and elk that is similar to mad cow disease -- was discovered in two captive deer herds in Oneida County in the center of the state.Vermonters cannot bring home a deer carcass from neighboring towns in New York, yet a moratorium on importing captive deer and elk in Vermont was allowed to expire last year. This despite the fact that transporting captive deer and elk has a long track record of spreading CWD, and there is no fool-proof way to determine if even an ostensibly healthy deer has the disease
  • CWD-positive white-tailed deer found in Junction City hunting preserve published on Oct 10, 2008
    CWD-positive white-tailed deer found in Junction City hunting preserveContact: Donna Gilson608-224-5130MADISON -- A white-tailed deer on a Portage County hunting preserve has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt announced today. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, reported the test results Thursday, Oct. 9. The animal was a 7-year-old doe owned by Alligator Creek Whitetails LLC and was one of about 150 deer in the preserve. The 119-acre preserve near Junction City in the Town of Eau Pleine in Portage County. The deer was killed on Sept. 20. The Animal Health Division of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's investigation will look at the animal's history and trace movements of deer onto and off the property to find out whether other herds may have been exposed to CWD. Deer herds on hunting preserves are generally not on the state's CWD monitoring program. However, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection rules require that all farm-raised deer and elk 16 months or older must be tested when they die, go to slaughter or are killed. Ehlenfeldt quarantined the Alligator Creek herd immediately. The quarantine stops movement of live deer off or onto the property without written permission from the department. The business will be allowed to conduct hunts through Jan. 15, because properly handled dead animals leaving the premises do not pose a disease risk. Hunters must be notified of the quarantine and the reason for it. This is the first new CWD-infected herd on a Wisconsin farm since January 2005. To date, 97 farm-raised animals in Wisconsin have tested positive for CWD on eight farms and hunting preserves, including 82 on a single Portage County operation. One of the infected animals was an elk; the rest have been white-tailed deer. To date, more than 21,500 farm-raised deer and elk have been tested.
  • Live CWD test in elk shows promise published on Jul 07, 2008
    Researchers in May completed their third year of evaluating and validating the first live rectal-tissue biopsy method for detecting chronic wasting disease in captive and wild elk.
  • Prions' great escape published on Jul 01, 2008
    Prions, the infective particles behind diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), can breach standard sewage treatment methods, new research shows.
  • Chronic wasting disease under the microscope of researchers published on Jun 06, 2008
    Researchers from the Alberta Prion Institute have been studying wild populations of deer to learn more about chronic wasting disease and its control in the province
    Researchers from the U.S. Department of Agricultures Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Colorado State University (CSU) recently completed their third year of evaluating and validating the first live rectal-tissue biopsy method for detecting chronic wasting disease (CWD) in captive and wild elk. To date, researchers have collected over 1,500 biopsies from captive elk in Colorado and used the technique to find 15 elk that were positive for CWD. As compared to proven post-mortem diagnostic tests, this live test appears to be nearly as accurate
  • First-ever case of Chronic Wasting Disease in wild elk found in Saskatchewan published on May 15, 2008
    The first-ever cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in wild elk have been discovered in Saskatchewan, but the provincial government hasn't been very public about it.The animals were found dead west of Nipawin in early April, close to Fort a la Corne in the province's east-central region.
  • Chronic wasting disease surfaces in Hampshire published on May 09, 2008
    ROMNEY - Test results have detected the chronic wasting disease agent in 11 white-tailed deer collected this spring in Hampshire County, according to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.These collections have been designed to investigate and determine the prevalence and distribution of the disease in Hampshire County. Wildlife biologists are carefully monitoring changes in the structure of the deer herd within the CWD containment area.
  • Board OKs plan for CWD management published on Apr 24, 2008
    Members of the state Natural Resources Board approved a framework for chronic wasting disease (CWD) management during the 2008 deer hunting season today, while stressing that they ultimately want a comprehensive new statewide plan for controlling the fatal nervous system disease.
  • High titers of mucosal and systemic anti-PrP antibodies abrogate oral prion infection in mucosal-vaccinated mice published on Apr 22, 2008
    Significant outbreaks of prion disease linked to oral exposure of the prion agent have occurred in animal and human populations. These disorders are associated with a conformational change of a normal protein, PrPC (C for cellular), to a toxic and infectious form, PrPSc (Sc for scrapie). None of the prionoses currently have an effective treatment. Some forms of prion disease are thought to be spread by oral ingestion of PrPSc, such as chronic wasting disease and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Attempts to obtain an active immunization in wild-type animals have been hampered by auto-tolerance to PrP and potential toxicity. Previously, we demonstrated that it is possible to overcome tolerance and obtain a specific anti-PrP antibody response by oral inoculation of the PrP protein expressed in an attenuated Salmonella vector. This past study showed that 30% of vaccinated animals were free of disease more than 350 days post-challenge. In the current study we have both optimized the vaccination protocol and divided the vaccinated mice into low and high immune responder groups prior to oral challenge with PrPSc scrapie strain 139A. These methodological refinements led to a significantly improved therapeutic response. 100% of mice with a high mucosal anti-PrP titer immunoglobulin (Ig) A and a high systemic IgG titer, prior to challenge, remained without symptoms of PrP infection at 400 days (log-rank test P0.0001 versus sham controls). The brains from these surviving clinically asymptomatic mice were free of PrPSc infection by Western blot and histological examination. These promising findings suggest that effective mucosal vaccination is a feasible and useful method for overcoming tolerance to PrP and preventing prion infection via an oral rout
  • Report: Recreational hunting alone will not control CWD published on Apr 09, 2008
    Report outlining that hunting alone cannot control CWD in WI and that effective CWD management will require dramatic and sustained efforts.
  • West Virginia: Four Additional Deer Test Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease In Hampshire County, West Virginia published on Apr 04, 2008
    West Virginia continues efforts to define prevalence and distribution of CWD.
  • British Researchers Discover New Variant of CJD published on Apr 01, 2008
    A case of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in Britain changes predictions of future infection rates.
  • CWD Update #90 - Bryan J. Richards, USGS National Wildlife Health Center. published on Mar 07, 2008
    Regional and State updates on CWD occurences and news.
  • Susceptibility of Cattle to First-passage Intracerebral Inoculation with Chronic Wasting Disease Agent from White-tailed Deer published on Mar 01, 2008
    Fourteen, 3-month-old calves were intracerebrally inoculated with the agent of chronic wasting disease (CWD) from white-tailed deer (CWDwtd) to compare the clinical signs and neuropathologic findings with those of certain other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE, prion diseases) that have been shown to be experimentally transmissible to cattle (sheep scrapie, CWD of mule deer CWDmd, bovine spongiform encephalopathy BSE, and transmissible mink encephalopathy).

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