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From: TSS ()
Date: April 28, 2005 at 6:39 pm PST

In Reply to: CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE FOUND IN ONEIDA COUNTY WILD DEER posted by TSS on April 28, 2005 at 7:05 am:

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail, a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: 27 Apr 2005
From: Gary Nelson

[Gary Nelson is the President and acting director of the NADeFA (North
America Deer Farmer's Association) and personally interviewed the owner of
the deer that was found to have CWD in NY. - Mod.TG]

As we have all heard, CWD was found in Oneida County, New York. CWD was
confirmed on 2 different farms, the 1st farm owned by John Palmer and the
2nd by Martin Proper.

The 1st positive was a 6-year-old doe that was harvested for a fireman's
benefit dinner. In talking to John, he said, "I picked out the fattest,
healthiest looking doe I had."

Most people have been led to believe that CWD-positive deer exhibit signs
of poor health, but the deer farming industry has found this to be untrue.
The vast majority of those animals that have tested positive have shown
little, if any signs of sickness.

The herd was depopulated only days after the 1st positive was found. On a
Tuesday morning, sharpshooters came in and after 6 hours had put down the
remaining 18 deer. Samples were collected and sent in for analysis. Friday
the results were back; 3 more positives were found for CWD. These 3 deer
all came from New York State's Rehabilitation Program. John Palmer acquired
these deer from New York's wild population through conservation officers.

John Palmer's herd started when he purchased a few deer from Ohio in 1994.
Later, he added other deer from a New York source. 7 years ago John
started rehabilitating fawns. John said he took in 1-14 fawns per year from
all over New York. John had the responsibility of determining whether the
fawn could be released back into the wild or had to stay forever in a pen
in his privately owned herd. He also relocated some of these fawns to other
producers. This is how Martin Proper came into the picture.

Martin Proper is the owner of the 2nd positive herd. The animal that tested
positive for CWD on his farm was a 4- or 5-year-old buck that died from
pneumonia, another rehabilitated wild deer from New York. Martin received 2
deer from John Palmer's herd; one doe that was blind and one doe born with
only 3 feet. They had bred and had produced some offspring. The
aforementioned buck killed one of these does during last year's rut, and
was not tested because it happened before their CWD Program was up and
running. The rest of Martin's herd was put down and samples analyzed. No
other positives were found.

There were 5 positives found in these 2 herds; 4 were deer taken from the
wild [as rehabilitated fawns]. It is unclear to John where the very first
doe originated, but he felt it could have originated from the wild as well.

Taking deer from the wild is not condoned by the cervid industry and is
strongly discouraged; nonetheless, it did happen with the deer in this

A statement released by the New York State Department of Environmental
Conservation (DEC) on 5 Apr 2005 announced plans to conduct intensive
monitoring of the wild deer population surrounding both farms to determine
whether CWD has spread to the wild herds.

The NYS DEC has already directed blame towards the farmed deer industry for
bringing CWD into New York, even though there is a clear history of the DEC
taking deer out of the wild and placing them into John Palmer's herd for
rehabilitation. The question should be, "Where did the wild deer of New
York get CWD?"

Adding to the questions, without any answers, John is a taxidermist and has
taken work from all over North America. He mentioned receiving work from
the following states and Canadian province: Saskatchewan, Montana, Idaho,
Illinois, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming. When looking at where CWD has been
found in the wild, many of these locations appear on that list.

In a study released by Beth Williams and Mike Miller, they noted that [a
deer] was just as likely to contract CWD from a live infected deer as it
was to be housed in a pen with a dead positive carcass.

Did one or more of the many dead animals brought into John's taxidermy
studio have CWD? John stated that he kept the rehabilitation fawns in the
same garage where he did much of his taxidermy work. It was common practice
for John to sweep up his shop and deposit the salt and chemicals along the
deer fence as a weed retardant.

The industry has always said that movement of CWD-positive carcasses would
move CWD much faster and farther than moving live animals. Is the New York
situation just that? Is there a need to regulate movement of CWD-positive

There are many points that come to the forefront from the situation in New
* The detection of CWD in New York clearly shows that the monitoring system
is working. These programs are set up to identify herds at risk.
* This event highlights the need for surveillance. Without the state
monitoring/surveillance programs, these positive deer would not be
detected. The more herds on these programs, the lower the risk.
* In the face of CWD, the best defense is herd monitoring/surveillance.
What better way to get participation than to recognize those who have
already participated in these programs and allow for continued movement for
their herds that have met the needed criteria? The event in New York has
_in no way_ compromised the health status of any herd that has been
enrolled in a CWD monitoring/surveillance program.
* CWD conjures up many questions that remain unanswered. There is a
continued need for the government agencies involved and the industry to
work together to resolve some of those questions.
* As previously seen, in discoveries of CWD, including this New York case,
all too often the producer is portrayed as a villain. There is no one who
wants this "disease" to be found on their property. When CWD is found, the
industry expects the producers to be treated fairly and with respect. The
finger-pointing and intimidation tactics are _not_ needed to resolve the
issues involved with CWD and private ownership of deer in the United States.

Deer farmers are fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters. They have served
this country in the armed forces. Deer farmers come from all walks of life;
doctors, lawyers, carpenters, plumbers, and housekeepers. The one thing
they all have in common is the passion they have for their deer. Let us
work together to resolve the issues that CWD brings to the forefront across
this great country of ours.

Gary Nelson, President

[It has been reported in other newspaper sources that the owner of index
herd in NY not only put the salt and other products from cleaning up his
taxidermy work along his fence lines -- thus exposing his captive herd --
but also that the fawns in the taxidermy garage area may have licked,
mouthed, or chewed on entrails from some deer.

It is stated in this NADeFA release that the owner of the index herd was to
decide whether the rehabilitated deer could return to the wild or were not
capable of survival on their own, presumably because of serious injury,
such as 3 legs, or imprinting on people. However, he was instructed to turn
some loose in the wild.

If the fawn or fawns in question consumed -- or otherwise contacted --
infected tissues in the taxidermy shop and then were released to the wild,
then it could be speculated that NYS DEC would likely find exposed wild
animals. If the fawn was originally wild, exposed through taxidermy work on
other wild animals, and then released back to the wild, it would be
difficult to say that captive animals brought disease to wild animals. It
would be more acceptable to say the wild animals have introduced this
disease to captive animals. - Mod.TG]

Date: 27 Apr 2005
From: ProMED-mail promed@promedmail
Source: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website

For Release: Immediate
Contact: Michael Fraser, (518) 402-8000
Wed 27 Apr 2005

Chronic Wasting Disease Found in Oneida County Wild Deer;
Preliminary Positive Result Found During DEC Monitoring Efforts
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today
announced it has received a preliminary positive result for chronic wasting
disease (CWD) in a wild deer sampled in Oneida County. If confirmed, this
will be the 1st known occurrence of CWD in the wild in New York State.

The positive sample was from a yearling white-tailed deer tested as part of
DEC's intensive monitoring effort in Oneida County. The sample tissue was
tested at the State's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Cornell
University. The sample will be sent to the National Veterinary Services
Laboratory in Ames, Iowa to be verified.

DEC implemented intensive monitoring efforts after CWD was found in 2
captive white-tailed deer herds in Oneida County -- the 1st incidents of
CWD in New York State. On 8 Apr 2005, the State Department of Agriculture
and Markets (DAM) completed testing of the captive deer and found a total
of 5 positive results for CWD in the 2 captive herds.

To date, DEC, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife
Services program, has sampled 213 deer from Oneida County and 25 deer from
the Town of Arietta, Hamilton County. Since 2002, DEC has conducted
statewide sampling of wild deer for CWD. Counting also the sampling efforts
in Oneida and Hamilton Counties, DEC has collected more than 3700 samples
from wild white-tailed deer.

In response to the latest finding, DEC and DAM will continue public
outreach to interested parties in Oneida County to help educate citizens on
CWD and to discuss the next steps to be taken. In addition, DEC and DAM
will conduct additional outreach and continue to aggressively pursue
inspection and enforcement at all captive deer herds across the State.

DAM continues to investigate, sample, and test white-tailed deer from 2
captive herds directly associated with the 2 herds that were confirmed
positive for CWD in Oneida County. Results for these sampling efforts will
be announced when available. DAM also continues to review its regulations
regarding the movement, surveillance, and monitoring of live cervids in New
York State.

Later this week, DEC will file emergency regulations to ensure the proper
handling of deer and prevent further spread of CWD in the wild herd. The
emergency regulations will establish a containment area in Oneida County,
where CWD has been identified and where certain requirements will be
established on movement and handling of deer. The containment area will
initially include the cities of Rome, Sherrill, Utica, and Oneida, as well
as the towns of Floyd, Marcy, Whitestown, Westmoreland, Verona, Vernon,
Kirkland, and New Hartford. Within the containment area, DEC's emergency
regulations will:
- prohibit the movement of certain animal parts out of the containment area;
- establish mandatory check stations for any deer taken by hunters in the
containment area;
- prohibit possession of any deer killed by a motor vehicle so DEC can
acquire specimens for testing; and,
- prohibit the collection, sale, possession, or transport of deer or elk
urine taken from the containment area.

In addition to the requirements listed for the containment area, DEC's
emergency regulations will include provisions to be followed by individuals
and facilities across the State. The emergency regulations will also:
- specify record-keeping and reporting requirements for taxidermists and
require measures to prevent live cervids from coming in contact with any
materials, including taxidermy materials, that may contain the infectious
agent that causes CWD;
- prohibit wildlife rehabilitators to take in wild white-tailed deer at
facilities that house live cervids, unless they possess a specific permit
from DEC;
- require retailers who sell deer feed to post a sign provided by DEC to
advise buyers of the State prohibition on feeding wild deer; regulations
will also prohibit the sale of deer feed that is packaged or labeled for
wild white-tailed deer.

DEC will continue intensive sampling of wild deer in Oneida County through
30 Apr 2005. Additionally, DEC will sample all deer killed within the
containment area pursuant to nuisance deer permits and by hunters for CWD
testing. DEC will use the results of all these efforts to describe the
distribution and prevalence of CWD in wild deer as accurately as possible.

CWD is a transmissible disease that affects the brain and central nervous
system of certain deer and elk. There is no evidence that CWD is linked to
disease in humans or domestic livestock other than deer and elk. More
information on CWD can be found at DEC's website


[It would be quite unusual for a yearling to have the disease. However, if
that yearling was exposed to infected tissues at a very early age, then it
may be possible. Nevertheless, this presumptive finding is extremely
unusual. Likewise, given the statements from the index herd owner regarding
his direction to release rehabilitated deer back into the wild, then it
would also be expected that DEC would find CWD cases in the wild. - Mod.TG]

[see also:
Chronic wasting disease, cervids - USA (NY) (03): human exposure 20050409.1028
Chronic wasting disease, cervids - USA (NY)(02) 20050402.0952
Chronic wasting disease, cervids - USA (NY) 20050331.0932]


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