National Wildlife Health Center

...advancing wildlife and ecosystem health

Chronic Wasting Disease

The spread of CWD in free-ranging animals is of great concern, and research information is desperately needed by federal and state resource management agencies. The disease was originally described in captive animals 35 years ago in Colorado. However, over the last five years, CWD has been detected in free-ranging cervids in several surrounding states and Canada. In 2002, CWD was reported in free-ranging deer in South Dakota, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Illinois, and Utah. The detection of CWD in the free-ranging white-tailed deer herd east of the Mississippi River is of particular concern.

This project is managed by the Program Coordinator of the Wildlife: Terrestrial and Endangered Resources Program.

Project Tasks:
  • Susceptibility of small mammals to Chronic Wasting Disease.
  • Genetic Resistance to Chronic Wasting Disease.
  • Use of genetic markers to investigate the route of Chronic Wasting Disease transmission in free-ranging white-tailed Deer.
  • Potential transmission of Chronic Wasting Disease to other native wildlife.
  • Establishment of Chronic Wasting Disease positive tissues bank.
  • Strain-identification assay for Chronic Wasting Disease in cervids.
  • Identification of pre-clinical biomarkers for Chronic Wasting Disease in cervids.
  • Development of risk analysis tools for Chronic Wasting Disease.
  • Identification of endocrinological changes associated with Chronic Wasting Disease in cervids.
  • A comparative study of two CWD epidemics as a foundation for adaptive disease management strategies.
  • Spatial-temporal statistical epidemiology of Chronic Wasting Disease.

For more information on any of the tasks listed above, please contact Gail Moede-Rogall at 608-270-2438 or via email at

Photo by Milton Friend

  1. Conduct research on the highest priority needs to better manage Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and determine its impact on wildlife.

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Contact Form
Page Last Modified: Jun 20, 2018