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From: TSS ()
Subject: West Virginia officials have found an additional MAD DEER AND Wyoming finds 80 percent mad deer infection rate in Two-year-olds
Date: December 9, 2005 at 12:25 pm PST

Thursday, December 08, 2005

CWD update

By Bill Cochran

West Virginia officials have found an additional deer that tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). This makes a total of five deer in that state carrying this highly contagious and fatal disease.

The latest discovery was found about 4 miles from the Virginia line, according to Bob Duncan, chief of the wildlife division of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. All five of the deer have been in about a 5-mile radius of each other.

Virginia officials have collected the heads of 550 deer for testing from Clarke, Frederick, Londoun and Shenandoah counties. Tests of the first 70 have come back with no indication of CWD.

All tests are expected to be completed by mid-December.


CWD has been found in samples of deer taken in Hampshire County, and DNR has a plan to deal with it. Click here for details.

Wasting disease expands in deer

80 percent infection rate in Two-year-olds

Star-Tribune correspondent Friday, December 09, 2005

Chronic wasting disease researchers have found higher-than-expected infection rates among fawns and 2-year-old white-tailed deer in central Wyoming.

The most alarming finding was infection rates of up to 80 percent in 2-year-old white-tailed deer in a hunting area near Glenrock that has an overall wasting disease prevalence rate of 31 percent, according to researchers from the University of Wyoming's School of Veterinary Sciences. Prevalence is defined as the number of positive cases divided by the number of tested animals.

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal, transmissible ailment of deer and elk, characterized by tears or holes in brain tissue. The disease is typified by chronic weight loss leading to death. Behavioral changes also occur in the majority of cases, including isolation, listlessness, lowering of the head, blank facial expression, and repetitive walking in set patterns.

UW graduate student David Edmunds and his adviser, Todd Cornish, cautioned against reading too much into the 80 percent infection rate, explaining that it was based on a small sampling of five animals.

Edmunds is two years into his master’s project, focused on wasting disease in hunt area 65 west of Glenrock. Each March, he captures 30 new fawns and also recaptures older deer he has previously tagged or radio-collared. For each capture, he gathers more data for his growing database, as well as tissue samples for analysis.

“David is tracking a generation of deer from birth to death,” Cornish said, “and we expect the best data to come later on in the study.”

High rates of wasting disease are “not surprising,” Cornish said, as hunt area 65 has long had one of the highest wasting disease prevalence rates in the state and the country. While other parts of the state have zero prevalence, most of Wyoming’s infected areas are in the 5 to 15 percentile range, he said.

Area 65 has ranged in the 22 to 30 percentile in recent years. Earlier this year, the prevalence rate was 73 percent, falling to 50 percent earlier this week and now to 31 percent, as more test results continue to come in from a hunter surveillance program.

Preliminary data from Edmunds show that:

* Fawns have a 10 percent infection rate.

* Yearlings have a 26 percent infection rate.

* Two-year-olds have an 80 percent infection rate.

“We were surprised at the number of fawns who are infected,” Cornish said.

What that indicates, he said, is that deer can become infected with the fatal brain disease at an early age.

“They aren’t ill yet, but they are infected,” Cornish said. “The real gist of David's research is that he’ll be able to compare positive and negative CWD animals’ behavior, how they use habitat.”

Edmunds and Cornish believe that as they acquire more data, the disease prevalence rate among 2-year-old deer will drop, but that it will be higher than 30 percent.

This winter, Edmunds said, he’ll add GPS tracking data and population counts to his data mix.

Cornish said there are still lots of deer in hunt area 65. “The population is not crashing,” he said.

Yet Edmunds acknowledges that there is obviously a lower survival rate in the infected population. Sick animals are simply not as alert or wary, he said, and are particularly susceptible to hunting pressure.

Officials say there is no evidence that wasting disease can affect humans, but they advise against eating meat from infected animals.


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