Follow Ups | Post Followup | Back to Discussion Board | VegSource
See spam or
inappropriate posts?
Please let us know.

From: TSS ()
Subject: CWD worrisome to Livermore hunter
Date: November 4, 2006 at 8:38 am PST

CWD worrisome to Livermore hunter
By Linda Bell
When 76-year-old Al Samuelson harvested a three-point buck with his compound bow on Aug. 30 he was ecstatic. Two years before he had broken his arm at the shoulder in a riding accident, and he never thought he would hunt again, especially with a bow.

Samuelson said he harvested the deer in national forest near Red Feather Lakes, and after sawing off the legs, he took the remaining carcass back to his Livermore home. His wife, Marilyn, wrapped up the cuts for the freezer. Both of them said they looked forward to a Thanksgiving feast of venison with their son and teenage grandchildren.

The following day, Samuelson took the deer head to the Colorado Division of Wildlife for testing for chronic wasting disease. In the game unit where Samuelson harvested his buck, the most recent statistics posted by the DOW show a CWD infection rate for deer to be from 4.4 to 6.5 percent and for elk to be from 0.05 to 1.8 percent. The rates are based on a two-year study from 2003 to 2005.

On Sept. 19, almost three weeks after the meat was packed in the freezer, Samuelson got a call from the DOW to say his buck tested positive for CWD.

It was then Samuelson said he started thinking about contamination; he hadn't used latex gloves in the field, but did at home when he butchered. He thought about his extensive collection of hunting and butchering knives, the clothes he wore when he was hunting, his blood-soaked hands on the steering wheel and door handles of his truck.

Marilyn Samuelson said she didn't use latex gloves either when wrapping the meat because, with the wrapping paper, the tape and the meat, everything is too slippery.

The DOW told Samuelson to soak everything that may be contaminated in a one-to-one solution of unscented Clorox and water for three hours. But, he said, using the Internet to research the class of deformed protein, or prions, that cause transmissible spongiform encephalopathies like CWD, he found the research suggests the prions are almost indestructible over time, either by cooking, heating, irradiation or chemical means.

Samuelson said it was their good luck they hadn't eaten some of the venison prior to the call from the DOW. As instructed, he took all the wrapped, frozen meat and turned it in at the DOW in Fort Collins where Colorado State University has a digester facility to neutralize the waste.

The DOW has access to two other facilities in the state for disposing of infected animals, said Kathi Green, DOW acting public information officer for the northeast region. DOW has an incinerator in Craig, and CSU operates one in Grand Junction, she said. "Both chemical treatment and high-heat incineration destroy the prions," she said.

Samuelson said he wonders why testing is no longer mandatory for harvested deer or elk in DOW Area 4 where he was hunting. Once mandatory, testing in the northeast region was made voluntary in 2004, although testing is still required of all moose taken in the state. In 2005, one harvested moose tested positive for CWD.

Samuelson said the DOW refunded his hunting license fee and the CWD testing fee and then reimbursed him another $50 for processing. He said he is thinking about pitching the antlers and about $300 worth of equipment he used, including his knives and saws.

Samuelson's concern about blood contamination proved to be valid. Soon after he learned his buck was CWD-positive, a paper from a CSU-led research team headed by Edward Hoover in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology reported that CWD can be transmitted through infected saliva and blood.

Samuelson said he thinks about how he washed off a bloody toboggan just outside his house, and how his wife tossed his hunting clothes into the washer. It worries him after what he's read about the prions that characterize TSEs. The 2006 DOW Hunting Guide doesn't say anything about precautionary cleansing with Clorox, and by the time hunters get test results, the butchering is finished, he said.

In Hoover's study to determine what causes deer to get CWD, he and his team used hand-raised deer from Georgia never before exposed to CWD. Three were given saliva from CWD-infected deer. Additional tame deer were exposed to blood, urine and feces from CWD-infected animals.

Within 18 months, all the saliva-exposed deer got sick, as did the animals given a single transfusion of CWD-infected blood. None of the fawns exposed to urine and feces become infected, but Hoover cautioned it does not rule out those substances. He said it may be that he simply didn't test enough animals.

Hoover's study, part of a seven-year, $8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, was released in the Oct. 6 edition of the journal Science and shows for the first time that CWD can be passed to deer that come into contact with saliva or blood from infected animals.

Hoover wrote that although no instance of CWD transmission to humans has been detected, these results prompt caution regarding exposure to body fluids in prion infections such as CWD. Hoover said the study also causes researchers to reconsider a potential role for blood-feeding insects such as mosquitoes and ticks in the transmission.

Researchers biopsied the tonsils of the exposed deer, the only kind of test now available on a living animal, and found CWD could be detected as early as three months after exposure to the saliva or blood of infected deer. Hoover described this as a surprising and important finding. Earlier research suggested incubation could take as long as two to six years. Far better, Hoover said, would be to develop a test that could detect CWD prions directly from bodily fluids, such as saliva or blood.

Wildlife officers have noted that in the final stages of CWD, infected animals become very thirsty, they are reluctant to leave a water source and they drool saliva. Potentially any water source, pasture, salt licks or face-to-face contact between animals spreads CWD.

Samuelson said he hopes the DOW can close the gap between testing and notification. During a three-week interim, the meat might be given away or eaten, he noted. While he acknowledges that at his age he's unlikely to manifest disease as a result of his exposure, younger people like his son or grandchildren might be unwittingly exposed to something that could become harmful to them over time.


Follow Ups:

Post a Followup

E-mail: (optional)


Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL: