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Chronic Wasting Disease Remains a Threat to VT Deer

VERMONT AGENCY OF NATURAL RESOURCES
PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release: February 5, 2010
Media Contacts: Shawn Haskell, 802-751-2647
Scott Darling, 802-786-3862

Chronic Wasting Disease Remains a Threat to VT Deer

WATERBURY, Vt –Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) remains a serious threat to Vermont’s deer population, according to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. CWD is a contagious neurological disease affecting deer, elk and moose. It causes a characteristic spongy degeneration of the brains of infected animals resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and death.

Dr. Shawn Haskell, a certified wildlife biologist and the state’s deer project leader, says the public can help by learning about the disease and reporting sick deer to the department.

To date, the disease has been documented in 16 states and 2 Canadian provinces. New York discovered CWD in captive deer and two wild deer nearby in Oneida County in 2005, but liberal lethal sampling of the local deer population has detected no infected deer since. The disease was detected in Virginia in January of 2010, and 16 additional cases were discovered in nearby West Virginia.

Currently, Vermont is believed to be CWD-free, but a preliminary false-positive test result from a hunter-harvested deer in East Montpelier had biologists worried for a few days in January, 2010.

“We were all relieved to find that additional tests demonstrated the deer was not infected,” said Dr. Haskell. “The prospects of CWD actually entering Vermont made it increasingly clear that we cannot take our current healthy status for granted.”

CWD is believed to be caused by mutant proteins known as prions. CWD is similar to other diseases such as scrapie in sheep and “mad cow disease.” Prions infect new animals when they are passed between deer after being shed in body fluids and feces. Prions can bind to soils and remain infectious for many years.

CWD is not known to be transmissible to humans, but it has had devastating effects on free-ranging deer in those states and provinces where it has been found. Clinical signs of illness include excessive drinking and urination, emaciation, drooling, listlessness, drooping ears, and lowered head. There is no reliable live-test, and infected animals can appear healthy for years. CWD is always fatal to deer.

CWD was originally discovered and spread from captive deer in Colorado. CWD first appeared east of the Mississippi River in 2002 when it was discovered in Wisconsin. The disease continues to be spread over long distances by the captive deer trade.

When CWD becomes established in a free-ranging population, efforts to eliminate the disease have proven unsuccessful. Prevention of CWD is a critical element to its management. When a first case is discovered in a new area, action must be swift and decisive if there is to be hope of eradicating the disease before it becomes established.

The Fish and Wildlife Department will be updating its CWD Strategic Response Plan in 2010. Most North American state and provincial wildlife agencies have such plans in place. Where deer densities are not high, as in Vermont, such response plans call for drastic reduction of free-ranging deer when an initial CWD-positive result is found.

In such a case, the initial step is for deer population objectives to be set at 0–5 deer per square-mile within a 10-mile radius of the infected deer, or about 300 square-miles. This must be done for at least five years in order to eradicate the disease before it becomes established in the otherwise-healthy deer population.

As part of a North American effort, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, in cooperation with U.S. Department of Agriculture, has been testing Vermont deer for CWD since 2002. Each year brain samples were taken from about 400 deer heads collected from cooperating meat-cutters statewide.

The department also asks that citizens phone-in sightings of sick deer that may be exhibiting signs of CWD. These deer make a very important contribution to disease monitoring efforts.

Being vigilant to diseases that could affect our fish and wildlife resources is the Fish and Wildlife Department’s duty. The department and Fish and Wildlife Board have taken pro-active steps to prevent the introduction of CWD into Vermont.

A regulation was passed in 2003 prohibiting the importation or possession of deer, elk or moose from states and provinces that have documented CWD and from captive hunt or farm facilities. Successful hunters bringing harvested deer, elk and moose into Vermont may only bring in de-boned meat that is cut up and packaged. The bones, nervous tissue and other parts are prohibited from importation or possession.

The feeding or baiting of white-tailed was prohibited in 2005. Deer feed can be contaminated with disease. Feeding and baiting can cause deer to congregate in densities that make CWD transmission more likely and deer vulnerable to disease outbreaks.

In 2009, a rule was passed to regulate captive hunting operations in Vermont. The department also currently is considering the risk of natural deer-urine scent lures used in hunting that are obtained from captive deer.

“If CWD is introduced to Vermont, there will be drastic changes for Vermont’s white-tailed deer, and negative impacts to Vermont’s economy,” said Fish and Wildlife Chief of Operations Thomas Decker. “We need to be vigilant and responsible toward our stewardship of these natural resources for the people of Vermont.”

More information about Chronic Wasting Disease can be found on the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s website: Vermont Fish & Wildlife.
 

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Bruce,
We are checking deer and elk that are harvested in Montana too. Have been for several years, and so far, so good. But it may only be a matter of time as I believe it has been found in nearby states. This could be bad for lots of us!
 
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i think the way it will enter a non-cwd state will end up coming in with an out of state hunter not do the right thing.
 

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Good point ronn and Vermont has already taken some steps to drastically reduce that type of risk as well.

In order to legally transport into Vermont and possess big
game that was legally taken in another state or country, a
person must keep the tag that is required by the state or the
country where the big game was taken. Each package of meat
must be marked with the name of the person who took the
animal, tag number, date, and state or country of origin.
Rules on Impo rting and Possession of Deer or El k from
Areas wi th Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and Captiv e
Hunt Areas or Farms:
It is illegal to import or possess legally taken deer or elk, or
parts of deer or elk, from states and Canadian provinces
that have, or have had Chronic Wasting Disease, or from any
captive hunt or farm facilities, regardless of its disease history,
with the following exceptions:
• Meat that is boneless.
• Hides or capes with no part of the head attached.
• Clean skull-cap with antlers attached.
• Antlers with no other meat or tissue attached.
• Finished taxidermy heads.
• Upper canine teeth with no tissue attached.
Other fish or game legally taken in another state or country
may be possessed and transported into Vermont in the
presence of the person who took that fish or game.
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal disease of the brain
and nervous system in deer and elk. It produces lesions that
cause death in deer and elk. For the latest information on
CWD, check the following websites:
Vermont Fish & Wildlife, Chronic Wasting Disease

A person who violates a state law or regulation while taking,
possessing, transporting, buying or selling big game will
face penalties that include fines, imprisonment, and license
revocation. Violators shall be fined not more than $500.00,
nor less than $200.00 for the first conviction. Upon a second
and all subsequent convictions, the violator shall be fined not
more than $1000.00 nor less than $500. Violators may also be
imprisoned for not more than 60 days, or may face both fine
and imprisonment. License revocation is based on the point
system (10 V.S.A. Sect. 4502).


In addition to any penalties imposed by the court, anyone who
is convicted of illegally taking, destroying, or possessing wild
animals must pay, as restitution, into the fish and wildlife
fund no more than the following amounts:
BIG GaMe................................................$1,000.00
eNDaNGereD tHreateNeD sPeCIes (t10, 5401) ..... 1,000.00
sMaLL GaMe ................................................250.00
FIsH ...........................................................25.00
 

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As careful we can get, and as diligent and cooperative as hunters can be, it can still come in from a neighboring state by infected live deer that wander in. There are no borders for deer, and unfortunately for this kind of problem, it's probably only a matter of time.
 

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So far so good in Tennessee, the TWRA has rules very similar to those Bruce posted and they are very serious about it. They will put you under the jail for importing improperly processed deer into TN.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
onehorse, here's a little information that should make anyone wonder how it happened...

In 2005, CWD was detected for the first time in New York,
did it stroll in from the border, a neighboring state already affected?
NO it was found in 2 deer approx. a mile apart in Verona, New York
Verona is in the middle of NY,
Now, after hearing that, wouldn't you agree that there's a real chance it got there through bottled Urine?

New York doesn't even know for sure how it got there but a lot of hunters in that area do use bottled Deer P or similar products.




the following is a cut and paste from NY's Dept. of environmental conservation.

To date, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has received confirmation of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) from two wild white-tailed deer sampled in central New York.
The first positive result in a wild deer was announced on April 27, 2005 and came from a yearling white-tailed deer sampled from the Town of Verona, Oneida County. The second positive result is from a three year old doe, located within a mile of the location where the initial positive result was detected. These are the first known occurrences of CWD in wild deer in New York State.
The sample tissues were tested at the State's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Cornell University. The two CWD positive samples were then sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa for verification. Results from NVSL have confirmed CWD in both samples.
 

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This is why I believe we need to bring back the wolf populations. I really believe that CWD is nothing new, it has always been here but in check because of natural predation.
There is nothing new under the sun.
 

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Not sure were I read this but scientists have recently discovered the infectious prions in muscle tissue as well as nueral. At this time it is to early to determine what the effects on humans are.One of there thoughts was testing before consumption to be safe.Check it out for yourself.
 
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cwd is a funny subject, funny peculiar not funny haha. we want the deer pop to grow but has it grows diseases become more evident. I always figured nature has a way to balance out what we as humans have mucked up. take out the wolf and nature counters with blue tongue and cwd.

It would be interesting to see if "they" have done any testing to see if natural scents have ever had the makings to contaminate an area. I'm doubting it could because these deer farms fall under the eye and testings of the state. much the same as cattle and black foot or hoof and mouth. if its found i'm sure they, the state, would take action. Try to bring a horse into the state of az. you'd have a better chance of getting drugs into az than a sick animal, and its a bigger microscope for veggies. farm deer get all their shots not that there is a shot for cwd. just seems very unlikely that scents would be the source. like i said my $$ would be on a ny hunter going to wv and bring back the whole carcass then dumping the waste in the woods somewhere. anyway seems much more likely.
 

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Ronn I think that is one of the big concerns with farming operations, I haven't read any recent articles regarding the rules or guidelines that govern the farmers/producers So there may be new rules/guidelines in place currently but previously there weren't adequate tests being done that could establish the safety of the products they produce.
I can't quote it but I do recall one article that said, you can't assume a herd is safe by testing only a few animals within the herd, especially when the disease could lie dormant for several years.

If anyone is interested, the following is a VERY Informative video on CWD courtesy of the CWD Alliance.

Shedding Light On Chronic Wasting Disease, "Cable Version"

Shedding Light On Chronic Wasting Disease, "DSL Version"
 
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i know over here at corben park, the powers that be are all up in their stuff about disease. they can't bring a pig out of there until its tested for whatever they test for. maybe thats just nh but i have a hard time believing nh is in the forefront of such things.
 

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i know over here at corben park, the powers that be are all up in their stuff about disease. they can't bring a pig out of there until its tested for whatever they test for. maybe thats just nh but i have a hard time believing nh is in the forefront of such things.
I'm sure many states have certain rules that they set up for these type of animal farms but it doesn't help if "one state requires this test or that test but the other state could care less about this test or that test" It's like each state setting rules but what's really needed are Federal Rules/Guidelines so all states would be required to meet the same testing standards throughout the entire U.S. but so far the rules/regs from individual states arent in sync with one another and maybe that's where the trouble lies...
I just don't know for sure, this is my best guess but I'd bet it's a good guess.
 
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good point but i'm very hesitant to say the feds. the states worked out the hunter safety class thing they should work on a standard we all can live with, which should be what is best for the deer.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yeah when I say federal rules/guidelines, I meant an organization like the U.S. fish and Wildlife service, Through their efforts working in conjunction with all states they should be able to arrive at a suitable solution that would make standardized testing acceptable and able to meet each states particular requirements.
 
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