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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic

How Dangerous is CWD?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FluMom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 30 2018 at 8:18pm
Hey my father's doctor told him, "Mike we are all going to die from something. Quit worrying!" LOL, so true! I just avoid elk, deer, moose just to be sure I do not go with CWD.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CRS, DrPH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 30 2018 at 8:34pm
Originally posted by FluMom FluMom wrote:

Hey my father's doctor told him, "Mike we are all going to die from something. Quit worrying!" LOL, so true! I just avoid elk, deer, moose just to be sure I do not go with CWD.

LOL, I agree!  Moderation is the key....harvesting a few deer/elk during the year, eating them through out the year doesn't seem like it would entail high risks, particularly since hunters tend to prize the muscle of the animal vs. nervous tissue (very high risk eating!).  

Deer have other things I don't like, like TB.  However, our midwestern grain-fed deer can be pretty good eating, and the only moose I ever had (Alaskan) was yummy!! 

Gotta die of something, FluMom!! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 31 2018 at 2:43am
Most people (at least those who are reasonably heathy) are at no real risk of TB.  Historically speaking, it was a disease of the poor and for good reason.  Malnutrition made people suceptable.  Of the rare richer person who surcumbed, about 1/3 recovered through "fresh air and sunshine" (vitamin D makers). 

Bovine TB (mycoplasma bovis/brucellosis) is probably easier to contract, because of our taste for milk - but pasteurisation sorts that,  and it is both less life-threatening and easily avoidable by cookng - even rare cooking - anything over 70*C.  If, like me, you are clumsy butchers who tend to nick yourself, adoppt good wound hygene practices.  If you still manage to get it, be a good boy or girl and follow the doctors antibiotic regimen to the letter.  I was exposed as a child on my grandfathers dairy farm, where unpasteurised milk was the norm.  All tests came back clear.  The doc commented that most people were naturally resistant and I must have been one of the lucky ones.  Back then, I don't think the medical profession realised that the main factor in resistance was vitamin D,  they just knew some got it and some did not.

Anyway, CWD is far more worrying, even though it has not jumped biological family yet.  Flu virus dies outside the body, as does mycoplasma, most infectious agents need a vector or direct contact to get us. We have antibiotics, antifungals, antiparasitics and antivirals - albeit the last are not so effective as the rest.

It appears the tiny prion can use almost anything as a vector, persists on soil, in plants and through even extreme coking.  There are no treatments.  Only the restriction of deer movements and human transporters can stop its spread.  That is scary.
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Aparently, CWD is more contagious in areas where the soil is acidic and, even more importantly, less contagious in high-clay soils.

You can read the whole article here:   https://phys.org/news/2018-02-soil-characteristics-chronic-disease-persistence.html

Sumarised it says:  The prions stick to clay and so are harder to injest, whereas ph over 6.6 loosens them.  The study was an observational/statistical one; where the map of cases was stuck over one of the soils.
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US health authorities are warning that 'zombie deer disease' is spreading — and some fear it could start infecting humans

State officials in Minnesota say they are having a hard time fighting the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD).


Source and full article:   http://www.businessinsider.com/chronic-wasting-disease-zombie-deer-warnings-minnesota-mississippi-2018-2?IR=T

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Chronic wasting disease growing among deer and elk in Pa.

Feb 19, 2018

A disease that is a threat to deer and elk is gaining a bigger foothold in Pennsylvania.

Chronic wasting disease is a transmissible neurological disorder of deer and elk characterized by loss of body condition, behavioral abnormalities and always the death of the animal. Neither bacterial nor viral, it is the result of an oddly folded protein, or prion, causing a form of spongiform encephalopathy that carves sponge-like holes in the brains of its victims, similar to mad cow disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep.

Originating in Colorado in 1969, CWD is now confirmed in 24 states including Pennsylvania, where it seems to have recently crossed a transmission threshold, doubling the number of cases from 2016 to 2017. It is not contagious to pets, but recent research suggests that despite longtime scientific consensus, it may be transferable to humans who eat the malformed protein.

CWD map

CWD is a disease of cervids — hooved animals in the deer family — which are considered “keystone species” because they eat the habitat that every other animal needs for food and shelter. Researchers have said the rapid elimination of a keystone species in CWD hotspots would have dire consequences for all plants and animals and the people who enjoy them.

Chronic wasting disease was the subject of a well-attended seminar Sunday at the Allegheny Outdoors, Sport and Travel Show in Monroeville. Wayne Laroche, special assistant for CWD response for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said the state’s fourth Disease Management Area will soon be established following a new case discovered on a commercial deer farm in Lancaster County last week.

“This is a setback here in Pennsylvania and it’s now in half of the states,” Mr. Laroche said. “Hunters know about this because they know what’s going on with deer, but for the most part the general public is just starting to hear about it now.”

The prions are believed to have spread through the commercial exchange of deer among deer farms from Texas to Saskatchewan Province in Canada. Researchers including Mr. Laroche say spotty distribution in wild deer from the Rocky Mountains to south-central Pennsylvania suggests the prions are crossing deer farm fences and entering wild populations.

The misfolded proteins are resistant to an enzyme that breaks down proteins and peptides. The resistance is transferred when a prion touches a healthy protein.


Source and National map of current spread:   http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/outdoors/2018/02/19/Deer-chronic-wasting-disease/stories/201802190054

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 09 2018 at 12:23pm
Don't think you are safe because you ate that deer a decade ago...........................................

PRION DISEASE CAN LURK IN YOUR BRAIN FOR 30 YEARS BEFORE QUICKLY KILLING YOU

Among the myriad of things that can sicken us, prions remain one of the creepiest pathogens out there. A new report, published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, highlights yet another reason why: People can come down with a prion disease at least 30 years after first being exposed to it.

Prions are the misshapen form of proteins readily found in our brain. When prions are next to their normal counterparts, they very slowly, but relentlessly, convert them into more prions, like a microscopic Agent Smith from the Matrix. Little by little, the growing army eats away at the brain, causing telltale spongy holes. It can take years, even decades for a prion disease to become noticeable, but once symptoms like dementia or muscle spasms appear, it’s universally fatal, typically within a few months to two years.

Japanese researchers dug through records and identified 22 patients within the country who had developed a specific form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a neurodegenerative disease caused by prions, since 2008. These patients had caught CJD from contaminated dura mater grafts (dura mater being a tough membrane that coats the brain and spinal cord) used to help their brains heal after surgery. One patient in particular had their graft implanted in 1985 and only developed CJD 30 years later, in 2015.

The newer cases bring the tally of dura mater graft-associated CJD (dCJD) cases documented in Japan since 1975 up to a total of 154, the authors reported. That represents more than 60 percent of dCJD cases seen worldwide (four have been seen in the US).

These prion diseases, or spongiform encephalopathies as they’re formally called, can be transmitted by close contact with infected bodily fluid or brain matter; can be caused by mutations that run in the family; or can even appear out of nowhere with seemingly no underlying cause. Genetics might also play a role in how vulnerable we are to contracting a transmitted prion disease.

It’s estimated that about one in a million people annually develop some form of CJD, by far the most common human prion disease.

Cases of dCJD have centered around Japan because the brand of dura mater graft primarily responsible for the initial outbreak—Lyodura—was most widely available and used there. Unbeknownst to anyone at the time, the grafts (as well as some stocks of human growth hormone) were created using deceased donors who had CJD. And the standard method of decontamination, gamma radiation, did absolutely nothing to kill prions. By 1987, soon after the first cases of dCJD were discovered, Lyodura changed their sterilization methods, while other graft companies steered away from using dead human donors.

Unfortunately, some patients were given older Lyodura grafts that remained in stock after 1987. The grafts had a five-year-old expiration date, but in at least one case, a patient was given a graft found to be expired. The three most recent cases seemingly occurred during surgeries performed in 1993, all involving Lyodura grafts.

It’s almost inevitable that a few more new dCJD victims will sprout up in the years to come, the authors believe. From 1983 to 1987, they noted, 20,000 people in Japan received a Lyodura graft, a number fiftyfold higher than in the US.

Lead author Ryusuke Ae, a public health researcher at Jichi Medical University, told Gizmodo via email that graft patients in Japan may have been exposed to tainted Lyodura products after 1993 as well.

“Although the US government prohibited using Lyodura as soon as the risk was reported in 1986, the Japanese government did not until 1996,” he explained.

The maximum length of time it can take for CJD and other prion diseases to appear is also still up in the air. Ae says that the 30-year-latency period his team documented is the longest of any confirmed case of transmissible prion disease. But there’s speculative evidence of even longer examples.

The now virtually extinct Kuru disease, seen among members of the South Fore tribe in Papua, New Guinea, was spread by a cannibalistic religious custom of eating the brains of the recently dead. But though the ritual was phased out by the 1960s, cases of Kuru are thought to have shown up over 50 years after it was first contracted. Research in animals has also suggested that cases of variant CJD, spread by eating meat contaminated with the prions that cause Mad Cow disease, might vary widely in their incubation periods, possibly due to the victim’s genetic make-up.

Some people with acquired CJD might even, perhaps fortunately, never know they had it, Ae says.

“It is possible that there are some undeveloped patients of acquired CJD because of long latency periods, and they may die without CJD onset,” Ae said. “So far, the latency periods are only known by God.”

Because of that uncertainty, in addition to maintaining and establishing methods to prevent transmissible CJD, Ae and his team say, it’s important to create a more extensive surveillance system that can find still-hidden reservoirs of prion disease.


Source:  https://gizmodo.com/prion-disease-can-lurk-in-your-brain-for-30-years-befor-1823628617

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Chronic Wasting Disease: Coming to a Deer Population Near You

Without more federal dollars, the fatal disease will spread unabated
By Andy McGlashen | Mar 11 2018

In 1967, at a research facility in Fort Collins, Colorado, scientists began to notice strange symptoms in a herd of captive mule deer. The deer guzzled water, ground their teeth, and drooled. They stopped eating and stared at nothing. Eventually—ribs protruding, heads drooping—they died.

By the time researchers formally described the condition and named it chronic wasting disease, or CWD, in a 1980 paper, it had spread to other facilities in Colorado and Wyoming. Since then, the disease has turned up in captive and free-ranging deer, elk, and moose in 25 states—Mississippi reported its first CWD-positive deer in February—and Canada, Norway, and South Korea.

No one knows when or how CWD arose. It belongs to a family of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies or TSEs, along with mad cow disease, the sheep disease scrapie, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a very rare illness in humans. They are caused by prions, a type of protein that can become misshapen and cause other proteins to deform, eventually carving tiny holes in the brain. Like other TSEs, CWD is always fatal.

Unlike those diseases, however, CWD is not contained to domestic herds—it is the first known prion disease loose on the landscape, and wildlife managers are scrambling to stop it. Eradicating the disease seems unlikely. Stopping its spread may be the best we can hope for, experts say, and unless it’s backed by major new funding from Washington, hoping won’t get us far.

“Right now, we do not have effective management tools for this disease,” said Bryan Richards, emerging disease coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center. “From a management standpoint, its characteristics form a terrific challenge for wildlife managers. There’s nothing easy about it.”

There are no documented cases of humans contracting CWD, but experts say they can’t rule out the possibility. Indeed, scientists believe exposure to beef infected with mad cow disease is the cause of a Creutzfeldt-Jakob variant that has infected at least 231 people worldwide since it was first recorded in 1996. Concerns grew last May when Stefanie Czub, a prion expert with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, presented worrisome findings from her lab: As part of an ongoing study, three macaque monkeys that were fed CWD-tainted venison contracted the disease, demonstrating that it can cross the species barrier to primates. “The take-home message here is I think very much reiterating what the World Health Organization says: Nobody should consume any tissue, organ or material from a prion-infected animal,” Czub said.

It’s difficult to say how many people eat venison, but 9.2 million Americans hunt deer, elk, and other big game. Montana hunters alone harvest more than 9 million pounds of deer, elk, and antelope a year. Hunting is economically important in many areas, and is a key tool for managing North American deer herds. If concerns about CWD erode participation, hunters and non-hunters alike may see lost revenue, more crop damage, and more frequent car-deer collisions, natural resource managers warn.   

Shed in the waste of infected animals, prions can linger in soil for years. Research suggests plants can take up the prions and infect grazing deer. Females pass it to their offspring. Scavengers scatter prions across the landscape after visiting infected carcasses. CWD also travels when hunters transport contaminated parts, or animals are shipped from captive facilities where they’re raised for venison or as stock for private hunting preserves.

In some areas the disease has become so well established that, “if you’re a deer hunter and you go kill a big buck, you can take a coin out of your pocket and flip it up in the air, and those are literally the chances of that animal having CWD,” Richards said. In those hotspots, the disease is a threat not only to individual deer, but to entire local populations. In a 2016 University of Wyoming study of whitetail deer in the eastern part of that state, researchers found a 10 percent annual population decline from CWD, enough to wipe out some herds in less than 50 years.

To control the disease, 32 states have implemented bans or restrictions on importing captive animals from areas with CWD, and 42 ban or restrict hunters from bringing in animal parts from other states, according to the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance, a partnership of conservation groups. States also track the disease in wild herds by encouraging or requiring hunters to bring deer and elk to checkpoints for testing, and occasionally by sending in sharpshooters to kill deer in areas with CWD.

Those state surveillance efforts are expensive—Wisconsin spent more than 32 million to manage CWD from 2001 to 2006—but federal support for them has withered even as the disease has spread across the country. In the mid-2000s, Congress gave the USDA more than $18 million a year to help states control the spread of CWD, with the money split between surveillance of captive and wild herds. But beginning in 2012, the wildlife dollars were eliminated, leaving states to pay for hunter check stations, lab fees, and other costs. Today that funding is down to $3 million a year for a USDA certification program for captive herds, which requires five years of CWD-free test results before a farm can move animals across state lines. Even so, some certified herds have later tested positive for the disease.

“We need a large amount of money to look at new management techniques,” said Matt Dunfee, director of special programs for the Wildlife Management Institute and head of the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance. “Because research has been gutted nationally for this, it’s really hard to develop new tools.”

More money could be on the way soon. In November, U.S. Representatives Ron Kind(D) and James Sensenbrenner(R), both of Wisconsin, introduced a bill that would provide $35 million for CWD research and management; Montana Democrat Jon Tester introduced a companion Senate bill in December. “Honestly, it’s nowhere near enough,” Dunfee said of the proposed funding, “but it’s a darn good start.”

Along with helping states and tribes pay for surveillance, the bills could fund rapid-response efforts when CWD is first detected in an area—a strategy that appears to have kept New York state’s deer CWD-free after the disease was discovered there in 2005. The proposed funding could also support CWD research at a moment when some scientists say they’re on the cusp of developing transformative tools to fight the disease.

For example, Claudio Soto, a neurologist at the McGovern Medical School in Houston, says he has developed a blood test for the disease. Today’s CWD surveillance involves sampling brain and spinal tissue of dead animals; a reliable test for live deer could help farm and wildlife managers detect and respond to outbreaks more nimbly. But the USDA hasn’t approved the technique, and Dunfee said he’s skeptical. “Until now, no blood test has been developed that picks up prions reliably enough and at concentrations that are meaningful for management,” he said. “People have been trying to find that for a long time, and remember we’ve been working on other TSEs longer than CWD.”

Scientists also report progress toward preventing deer from catching CWD. In a 2014 paper, a New York University-led team announced what they said is the first successful vaccine for a prion disease. Five whitetail deer were given several doses of a vaccine made of Salmonella bacteria and a prion-like protein, then exposed to CWD. Four of them took longer than average to show signs of the disease, and the fifth never developed it during the study period.

“We are extremely close to slowing down the disease, that we know for sure,” said Fernando Goni, the NYU neurologist who led the study. Goni said his team has refined the vaccine so that it requires fewer doses and could be applied to deer food to inoculate wild herds, but he acknowledged that, given CWD’s vast and expanding range, doing so would be tremendously expensive.

Wildlife experts are also skeptical about a CWD vaccine. “Fifteen years ago, it seemed like there was an announcement every six months of someone saying, ‘This is it, we’ve got the vaccine candidate,’” Richards said. “And without exception, that was kind of the last you heard about it.” One potential vaccine developed by a Canadian company showed promise in early lab studies. But in a Wyoming field study, Richards pointed out, elk that were given the vaccine were nearly seven times more likely to develop CWD. And while a vaccine would be useful for protecting captive animals, using it in the wild would be a monumental undertaking, according to Dunfee. “Logistically, ask any wildlife biologist who’s tried to vaccinate wild herds and you’ll find it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible,” he said.   

Dunfee and others agree that more CWD research is important—perhaps it will yield a breakthrough to wipe out the disease. Meanwhile, politicians and the public need to recognize the seriousness of the disease, he said, and invest in containing it. “Prevention, prevention, prevention—that is the way we halt this disease,” he said. “If you can stop infected animals from moving to new areas, you can win this.”

Source:   https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/chronic-wasting-disease-coming-deer-population-near-you


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 11 2018 at 2:22pm
MMmm is this a way of Nature hitting back at all them city dwellers who go out hunting for SPORT.........

i just have to laugh,

no good came of killing anything for no reason!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and SPORT is no reason at all......................
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Yep!  If you don't intend to eat it - shoot it with a camera. 

If you do intend to eat it - shoot it in the head, don't torture it.
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Province 'negligent' in containing cervid disease, says MLA

Last Updated: April 2, 2018 6:00 AM MDT

The spread of a fatal neurological illness affecting elk, moose and deer in eastern Alberta is reminiscent of the onset of Canada’s mad cow disease crisis, says an Alberta legislator. 

Liberal MLA David Swann warned that chronic wasting disease (CWD) — a prion disease in the same family as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), scrapies and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), which affect cattle, sheep and humans respectively — needs to be contained before irreparably harming the environment, agriculture industry and human health.

“This provincial government is negligent,” he was recorded as saying in Hansard last month.

He called on the NDP to implement more stringent policies to restrict the movement of animals in an effort to quell the spread of the disease. He also advocated for a summit where leaders from Ottawa and affected provinces can discuss a national strategy.

“That would ultimately move us towards a stronger evidence base about getting serious about controlling this disease,” he said in an interview. 

In 2003, a single BSE-infected cow traced back to northern Alberta spurred a worldwide ban on Canadian beef exports and cost up to $10 billion. 

“We learned nothing from the BSE crisis,” Swann said in Hansard. “Conventional wisdom at the time assured us that this could not be transmitted to humans. This proved wrong, and variant CJD cost over 200 human lives.”

‘Relatively new’

In 2002, a lone elk on a game farm became Alberta’s first CWD case. Since then, four other farms have had animals test positive. In 2005, Alberta reported its first cases of wild cervids along the Saskatchewan border.

The disease — which has also been reported in more than two dozen U.S. states, Norway and South Korea — has no treatment or vaccine. 

“It’s a relatively new disease on the landscape,” said Margo Pybus, provincial wildlife disease specialist, last Monday. “It is slowly increasing within local populations on the east side of the province.”

Researchers haven’t ruled out the possibility that the disease can infect humans or cattle — a University of Calgary study found CWD could infect macaque monkeys who ate tainted meat — but agree it’s extremely unlikely. 

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier said he’s confident in Alberta’s tracking system, which costs $700,000 annually and includes mandatory testing for hunted deer meat in certain areas. 

“I do think (Swann is) wrong comparing this to BSE,” Carlier said Thursday. “With the traceability we’re doing now … we’re in a really good place to stay ahead of it to ensure we have the measures in place to protect the herds and protect the markets.”

Carlier noted he is “somewhat concerned” by the less strict control measures set out by other jurisdictions. 

Saskatchewan disbanded its mandatory wildlife testing program in 2012. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency recently changed its monitoring program of farmed cervids and launched a voluntary herd certification program. The agency said the move followed unsuccessful attempts to contain the disease.

“At first glance there are concerns with the CFIA backing away with some of their control measures,” Carlier said. “At the moment what I think what we’re doing … is strong enough.”

Caribou concerns

Alberta’s threatened woodland caribou could also be at risk, said University of Alberta researcher Debbie McKenzie, who is among a group of scientists funded by the Alberta Prion Research Institute.

“That’s one thing that we’re very concerned about,” she said, adding at least four CWD strains have been confirmed. 

The disease is transmitted through direct contact among animals, as well as by saliva, fecal matter and urine. Cross-species infection with other animals including bison, bighorn sheep and mountain goats could also happen, she said. “It’s very infectious to animals.”

The disease’s spread could also force deer populations into decline, which has happened in Colorado and Wyoming. They were home to the first reported CWD cases in the late 1970s.

“Then that is going to have a lot of ramifications on the environment,” she said.

Expanding surveillance program

Last year Alberta tested more than 6,000 deer heads for the disease, and the plan is to boost that number to 10,000 annually, said Matt Dykstra, spokesman for the minister of environment and parks. 

“Our objective is to be able to limit the rate at which the disease spreads. This is not an easy task,” he said in a statement Thursday. 

Program experts spent the last week of March in the U.S. to present on two decades of research to counterparts in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada, he added.

“Many other jurisdictions are looking at our data because we have a continuous picture about how this disease moves across the landscape,” he said. 

The surveillance program depends on hunters turning in their deer heads, McKenzie said. 

“If people are in areas where we know there is CWD, they should get their animals tested and not eat them if they’re positive.”

Source and map:   http://edmontonjournal.com/news/politics/province-negligent-in-containing-cervid-disease-says-mla


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Here's a new paper discussing how CWD prions are detected on mineral licks where deer congregate.  

This supports my long-thought contention that CWD could jump from deer to cattle, since they like to graze near each other in states like Wisconsin.   We may yet end up with another Mad Cow Disease situation in the US.


Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease of deer, elk, moose, and reindeer (cervids) caused by misfolded prion proteins. The disease has been reported across North America and recently discovered in northern Europe. Transmission of CWD in wild cervid populations can occur through environmental routes, but limited ability to detect prions in environmental samples has prevented the identification of potential transmission “hot spots”. We establish widespread CWD prion contamination of mineral licks used by free-ranging cervids in an enzootic area in Wisconsin, USA. We show mineral licks can serve as reservoirs of CWD prions and thus facilitate disease transmission. Furthermore, mineral licks attract livestock and other wildlife that also obtain mineral nutrients via soil and water consumption. Exposure to CWD prions at mineral licks provides potential for cross-species transmission to wildlife, domestic animals, and humans. Managing deer use of mineral licks warrants further consideration to help control outbreaks of CWD.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 20 2018 at 4:26am
Well, it looks as if officials are starting to take notice at last.

New chronic wasting disease rules will impact hunters this fall

Maddie Crocenzi, mcrocenzi@ydr.com Published 11:30 a.m. ET May 19, 2018 | Updated 12:50 p.m. ET May 19, 2018


The Pennsylvania Game Commission has issued new chronic wasting disease  rules throughout the state. 

Hunters who harvest deer in New York, Ohio, Maryland or West Virginia can't bring the whole deer into Pennsylvania, according to a recent news release. All high-risk parts including the head, spinal cord/backbone, spleen and skull plate with attached antlers must be removed before crossing into the state.  

More: York County's Mitrick proposes second buck tag to raise money for CWD fight

More: Chronic wasting disease found in 48 southcentral Pa. deer

Previously, the commission allowed hunters to bring deer into the state from New York, Ohio, Maryland or West Virginia as long as the deer wasn't harvested in a county where the disease was detected. 

“As we’ve seen in Pennsylvania, just because CWD appears confined to a specific area, doesn’t mean it won’t turn up somewhere completely new, miles away,” the commission's Executive Director Bryan Burhans said in the release. “Tightening up this order puts teeth in the Game Commission’s ability to enforce it, allowing us to better protect our deer and elk from CWD.”

More: Central Pa. taxidermists and butchers worry CWD in deer will hurt business

More: Chronic wasting disease found in Pennsylvania deer

The updated CWD rules ban importing high-risk parts from 24 states and two Canadian provinces. The ban affects hunters who harvest deer, elk, moose, mule deer and other cervids. 

Hunters can bring back meat from deer, elk, moose, mule deer or caribou as long as the backbone is removed. Cleaned skull plates, tanned hide or raw hide, capes, upper canine teeth and finished taxidermy mounts are also allowed back into the state under some restrictions. 

More: Lancaster County deer found with chronic wasting disease

To see a full list of the high-risk parts, locations under the ban and additional restrictions visit www.pgc.pa.gov.


Source and photos:   https://www.ydr.com/story/news/2018/05/19/new-chronic-wasting-disease-rules-impact-hunters-fall/625816002/

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 22 2018 at 4:55pm
Spreading and intensifying:

A disease that attacks the brains of deer, elk and moose has hit 16 percent of male animals tested in Colorado — and hunters need to be cautious

CPW task force mulls increased monitoring, increased hunting on infected herds, limits on deer, elk and moose congregation that could spread deadly prion disease

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 15 2018 at 3:32am

Pa. free-range deer with fatal disease tripled last year



HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) - Chronic wasting disease was detected in 78 free-ranging deer in 2017, three times more than in the previous year, the Pennsylvania Game Commission said Thursday.

Twenty-five deer were found to have the fatal disease in 2016.

Most of the new free-ranging positives, 75, were either within or near the boundary of Disease Management Area 2 in southcentral Pennsylvania. DMA 2 includes parts of Bedford, Blair, Cambria, and Fulton counties.

Three CWD-positives were within or near DMA 3 in northwestern Pennsylvania.

The boundaries of both areas have been expanded.

Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans said people need to become familiar and comply with rules that aim to slow the spread of the disease.

“It’s important for each of us to take this threat seriously and do all we can to slow the spread of the disease where it exists," Burhans said.

Hunters are prohibited from transporting high-risk parts - generally the head and backbone - from deer harvested within a DMA to points outside a DMA. The use or possession of urine-based deer attractants is prohibited within DMAs.

It’s also unlawful to feed deer within DMAs.

Chronic wasting disease affects deer, elk and moose.

There have been no reported cases in people, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people avoid eating meat from animals that look sick or that test positive for the disease.


Source:   http://www.abc27.com/news/local/pa-free-range-deer-with-fatal-disease-tripled-last-year/1239469690

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 26 2018 at 12:27pm

Disease spread prompts deer transport restrictions

The Associated Press

June 25, 2018 11:09 PM

Updated June 25, 2018 11:10 PM



SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va.

West Virginia officials have placed restrictions on the disposal and transport of deer carcasses in two more counties in response to a disease.

The state Division of Natural Resources says in a news release the restrictions start July 1 in Berkeley and Mineral counties. The restrictions already are in Hampshire, Hardy and Morgan counties.

The restrictions are designed to combat the spread of chronic wasting disease, which is concentrated in brains and spinal cords of infected deer. There are exceptions, including finished taxidermy mounts and meat that has been boned out.

The statement says the disease was found in two road-kill deer in Berkeley County and one sick deer in Mineral County.

The disease has been detected in nearly 350 deer since 2005, nearly all of them in Hampshire County.

Source:   https://www.kansascity.com/news/article213834099.html

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2018 at 11:12am
Deadly deer disease makes first appearance in Quebec

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, September 30, 2018 7:33AM EDT

MONTREAL -- Officials in Quebec are banking on a massive cull of the province's deer population to help prevent the spread of a fatal disease after its first-ever case was detected on a game farm north of Montreal.

Quebec's Wildlife Department confirmed earlier this month that chronic wasting disease was detected in a farm-raised animal that was sent to slaughter in late August.

The disease is a fatal infection of the central nervous system in deer, elk, reindeer and moose, and is similar to mad cow disease in cattle.

While it can go undetected for years, the condition eventually causes poor health, behavioural changes, disorientation and death.

The recent discovery was the first positive case in more than 22,000 samples that have been tested in the province.

The news has raised alarm bells among government officials, who have banned hunting, trapping and off-road activities within a 400-kilometre radius of the farm, which includes parts of the Laurentians and Outaouais regions north and west of Montreal.

On Thursday, they announced a plan to cull between 300 and 350 deer in order to test for the disease.

A further belt of land has been declared a monitoring zone, where hunters are asked to submit carcasses for testing and avoid taking certain deer parts out of the zone.

"The priority is to evaluate if the disease is present in the wild population and, in that case, to prevent its expansion and eliminate it," Wildlife Department biologist Donald Jean told a news conference.

Michel Baril, a biologist with Quebec's hunters and anglers federation, said the highly contagious disease has the potential to decimate the wild deer population if it spreads.

"If it gets out in the wild population there is no way of controlling it," he said in a phone interview. "We risk losing a good percentage of our deer and moose population."

While he believes the Wildlife Department is doing an "adequate job" of testing the wild population, Baril worries not enough is being done to isolate the farm or identify the source of the disease.

He believes officials should keep culling animals until the source of the disease is identified.

"The only way to know if an animal is sick is to slaughter it and analyze the brain," he said.

"We don't know where the disease is coming from, and we don't seem to want to work too hard to find out."

Baril also believes all game farms should be forced to build a second fence to create a buffer zone between wild populations and farms, where disease spreads more easily due to crowded conditions.

Stephane Lair, a veterinarian who works with the Canadian Wildlife Heath Cooperative, said that while it's true game farms can spread disease and impact wild populations, that's true of every agricultural activity.

He said it's possible the captive Quebec animal could have contracted the disease from another animal such as a bird, or even a human who handled contaminated equipment in a place where the disease is present.

But most likely, he said, the disease has already been present in the province at low levels for some time.

"Just because it's never been detected in Quebec, that doesn't mean it wasn't present," he said.

The disease was first detected in the 1960s in the United States and has since become nearly impossible to eradicate once it becomes established in the general population, Lair said.

It has since spread to some 25 U.S. states as well as Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Quebec's intervention plan is modelled on that of New York, which is believed to be the only state to have successfully eliminated the disease after it was discovered.

El Mehdi Haddou, a veterinarian with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, said he's hopeful the disease was caught early enough to be stopped in Quebec.

He said several dozen animals from the affected farm have been tested in recent days and all were clear, including 14 of the same age as the infected animal.

"By testing these animals, we know the prevalence of the disease will be ... very low, because the animals that had the most chance to be infected were negative," he said.

He added his agency and provincial agriculture departments are still investigating and are open to taking more measures, including culling the entire herd if necessary.

While there is currently no evidence the disease can spread to humans, Haddou said scientists haven't ruled out the possibility it could happen.

For that reason, he said, hunters are advised not to eat meat from deer that show symptoms of the disease, or to at least have the carcass tested before consuming the meat.

Source:    https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/deadly-deer-disease-makes-first-appearance-in-quebec-1.4115280
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 04 2019 at 5:44am
Fatal brain disease in deer, elk, moose spreading; Danger for humans?
By Cookson Beecher on February 4, 2019

Just as hunters have been stalking deer and elk, so, too, has a deadly brain disease been stalking their four-legged quarry.

Known as a chronic wasting disease (CWD), it infects deer, elk, and moose. It was first confirmed in Colorado in the 1970s. Back then, wildlife officials thought it would take more than 100 years to find its way east. They were confident that the Mississippi River would serve as a natural border.

But since being confirmed in Wisconsin in 2002, it has made its way to 25 states, most recently into Mississippi and Tennessee, and two Canadian provinces.

News headlines warn that it’s now within miles of the Alabama state line, approaching Indiana, and looking like it might get into Idaho.

“It continues to spread,” said Kip Adams, the conservation director for the Quality Deer Management Association.

The affected states are Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Mississipi, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The two Canadian provinces are Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Lou Cornicelli, Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resource wildlife research manager, said that managing CWD is challenging because of how it spreads and persists in the deer population. For example, males are much more likely to have CWD than females; male deer also move the disease farther on the landscape because they typically travel longer distances, especially in the fall, when hunting season is on.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is possible that CWD may also occur in other states without strong animal surveillance systems, but that no cases have been detected yet. Also according to CDC, once it is established in an area, the risk can remain for a long time in the environment. The affected areas are likely to continue to expand.

What about humans?

For humans, this is a concern that goes past the deer. That’s because CWD, along with mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE), scrapie in sheep, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob in humans, is among a family of brain diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). In these diseases, holes develop in the brain, causing the brain to become spongy.

Symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob in humans include psychiatric and behavioral changes, trouble walking, loss of weight, and problems with memory and thinking.

There is no vaccine for it, and it is always fatal.

Symptoms in deer are similar: the animal becomes emaciated and exhibits abnormal behavior. As in humans, it is always fatal.

Although humans can become infected with mad-cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) from eating beef products contaminated with central nervous system tissue, such as spinal cord and brain, from cows infected with the disease, there is no record of anyone coming down with the human variant of chronic wasting disease from eating infected deer, elk or moose meat.

In addition, current thinking is that mad cow disease and chronic wasting disease are “distinctly different.”

Even so, Claudio Soto, professor of neurology at the University of Texas, told Food Safety News.com in an earlier interview, that even though there have been no confirmed cases of infections in humans from CWD, the public should know that “it’s a possibility that needs to be explored.”

“I don’t want to scare people,” he said, “but these CWD prions are accumulating, and prions have a long incubation period — sometimes as much as 30 to 40 years in humans.”

Much smaller than bacteria, prions are single proteins that can’t be destroyed by typical “kill strategies” such as extreme heat or ultraviolet light.

As for human cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob not related to mad-cow disease, there has been an 85 percent increase nationally since 2002, when there were 260 cases compared with 481 in 2015, according to data from CDC.

Out on the landscape, CWD is also increasing and expanding its territory, although researchers are quick to say that this increase in Creutzfeldt-Jakob cases shouldn’t be construed as cause and effect.

How big a problem is it?

To date, no studies have shown that chronic wasting disease can actually be passed on to humans, as is the case with mad cow disease. In addition, no human cases of the chronic wasting disease have ever been identified.

Even so, health authorities are concerned about the possible risk to those who eat deer and elk from areas where CWD is established.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that the human health risks from CWD if any exist, are extremely low. However, as a precaution, the agency, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO), recommends that all products from animals known to be infected with any prion disease (for example, BSE in cattle, scrapie in sheep, and CWD in deer and elk) be excluded from the human food chain.

States with CWD management zones ask hunters to supply the head of a deer so it can be tested for CWD. If it is, they are advised not to eat any of the deer. While many hunters do get their animals tested, some don’t believe it’s a problem and doesn’t take advantage of the offer to have their animal tested.

Donald Davis, co-author of a recent report , “Basic Facts Surrounding CWD,” stresses the importance of relying on science instead of “often repeated pure speculation and rumor.” Not only is CWD a relatively rare disease, he said, but that in the past 20 years, fewer than 1 to 3 deer/elk per 1,000 tested positive for CWD nationwide.

However, CDC points out that while nationwide, the overall occurrence of CWD in free-ranging deer and elk is low, in several locations where the disease is established, infection rates may exceed 10 percent (1 in 10), and localized infection rates of more than 25 percent (1 in 4) have been reported.

“The infection rates among some captive deer can be much higher, with a rate of 79% (nearly 4 in 5) reported from at least one captive herd,” according to the CDC.

CWD can occur in captive game farms and also among wild, free-ranging deer and elk.

Davis also said that studies were done on humans in CWD-endemic areas, and where people eat large amounts of venison, show no more cases of the human form of brain disease than in areas without CWD.

The report also points out that in spite of the expenditure of over $100,000,000 of public funding, and thousands of animals killed, none of the prevention, control, or eradication methods employed by the various states since 1998 have been shown to be effective in either preventing increased prevalence of CWD or the increased geographic distribution.

However, a report (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/10/6/03-1082_article) on a CDC site about the potential transmission of CWD to humans, points out that because CWD has occurred in a limited geographic area for decades, an adequate number of people may not have been exposed to the CWD agent to result in a clinically recognizable human disease.

The article includes information on research on people who have shown symptoms of the human variant form of CWD but comes up with no definite conclusions whether the people had actually been infected by a deer with CWD.

However, it warns that “the level and frequency of human exposure to the CWD agent may increase with the spread of CWD in the United States.”

It also points out that “provided sufficient exposure, the species barrier (between deer and humans) may not completely protect humans from animal prion diseases.”

And it calls for more research on this, saying that “because the number of studies seeking evidence for CWD transmission to humans is limited, more epidemiologic and laboratory studies should be conducted to monitor the possibility of such transmissions. “

How does it spread?

The disease is caused by misformed proteins, referred to as prions. It can be spread in various ways: saliva, feces, urine, and other bodily fluids — and even grasses, which have been shown to bind to, uptake and transport infectious prions.

These prions are persistent. In 1985 when the Colorado Division of Wildlife tried to eliminate CWD from a research facility by treating the soil with chlorine, removing the treated soil and applying an additional chlorine treatment before letting the facility remain vacant for more than a year, they were unsuccessful in eliminating CWD from the facility.

CWD and mad cow disease

Mad cow disease was first discovered in the United Kingdom in 1986. Originally, cows were considered the “dead-end host.” In other words, the disease would not spread to other species, including humans.

Cows were said to have become infected by eating “recycled” products such as sheep carcasses infected with scrapie, another brain disease, and also cow carcasses infected with mad-cow disease.

In January 1993, the mad-cow epidemic reached its peak with almost 1,000 new cases being reported each week.

Three years later, things went from bad to worse — then to worst when the first case of the variant human form of mad-cow disease, vCreutzfeldt-Jakob, or vCJD, was reported. The cause of this human form of brain disease is said to be from eating contaminated meat or other products from cattle (excluding dairy products) infected with mad-cow disease. It didn’t stop there: more people came down with the disease. All died.

So alarming was this that 4.5 million cows were butchered. The stench of piles of burning cows filled the air.

Trade was disrupted, and countries with cases of the mad-cow disease were banned from exporting their beef.

Since 1996, more than 230 vCJD cases have been identified in 12 countries, 178 of them in the United Kingdom, 27 in France, and four in the United States. Just last fall, a case of mad cow disease was confirmed in Scotland.

What about the hunters?

Even though some hunters will say they don’t have any worries about getting infected with CWD from eating an infected deer or elk or moose, they’ll also say they prefer to hunt in areas where CWD isn’t prevalent. Some don’t bother to get their deer tested.

“I won’t stop hunting,” said Kip Adams, conservation director for the Quality Deer Management Association (https://www.qdma.com). “But I will have any deer I kill tested (for CWD) before eating it or feeding it to my family.”

When he goes hunting, he’s very aware of where the CWD management areas are. Although he has hunted in those areas in Pennsylvania and other states, he makes sure he follows the states’ testing and monitoring protocols.

“If I shoot a deer I wouldn’t consume it until I get satisfactory test results,” he said. “It’s a hunter’s responsibility to do that.”

Washington state hunter Dick Klein quickly says he’s no expert on this but he has watched some shows about it. He feels fortunate that his state has no CWD problems but should he be invited to hunt in areas of states that do have CWD, he would quickly decline.

“I wouldn’t want to eat it (venison) or see my family or pets eat it,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to take any chances.”

In Minnesota, CWD numbers are worrisome. When it comes to the deer that were killed and turned in for testing, there were 14 positives and one suspect for 2018, an increase from recent years.   That’s particularly worrisome because those 14 positives were part of the total 30 positives for 2016, 2017, and 2018.

“That’s not good,” said Erik Hildebrand, who said what’s also worrisome is that there were 3 positives found outside the southeast section of Minnesota’s CWD management zone. “That shows that it’s spreading,” he said.

Added to that concern is that deer densities are very high in that management zone. The best way to contain the disease is to reduce deer density — combat the disease and prevent it from spreading — is to allow more people to harvest more deer. in that zone. And that’s just what the state did.

“We wanted to get more samples,” he said, referring to the state’s decision to open up some special hunts in the zone.

Landowners also come into the picture, primarily because 90 to 95 percent of the land in the management zone is private property. With that in mind, the landowners can get a special permit.

Hunting is popular in Minnesota, which has about one-half million deer hunters.

While there currently are no human health concerns related to CWD, Hildebrand said a lot of the research is new. “Who knows what research will be forthcoming — and when.”

Hildebrand said that not only does testing gives hunters peace of mind, “it also helps us know how prevalent it is on the landscape.”

He’s quick to say that this is not just Department of Natural Resource’s problem. “This is everyone’s battle, including hunters, their families, and communities,” he said. “We all have to come together to help contain this disease.”

As for killing all of the deer to wipe out the disease, as some people have actually suggested: Hildebrand said that just isn’t feasible. Whereas in England, they could kill 4.5 million cattle when it was discovered that mad cow disease could spread to humans, those were domestic animals that could be rounded up.”

“It’s a wild population,” Adams said, referring to deer and elk. “It wouldn’t be possible.”

Mark Zabel, Associate Director of the Prion Research Center, Colorado State University, said that while no evidence exists to suggest that CWD zoonoses (the transmittal of a disease to humans from animals) has occurred, the possibility remains that it could happen, especially since only a few family and friends would eat the entire deer. That, in turn, would expose them to much higher doses of CWD prions than what humans ate during the mad-cow outbreak in England.

He also pointed out that one major concern is that, over a period of years, the deer disease could mutate as it passes from animal to animal, eventually producing prions that could infect people.

“If CWD is an emerging prion disease on the landscape, it may still be evolving through infected deer,” he said. “We have shown in the lab that deer prions can change and/or spontaneously arise. So it may be just a matter of time before a CWD prion emerges capable of infecting humans. Eating high doses of CWD prions, as hunters and their friends and family would eat, could stress the species barrier to a breaking point.”

This is why CDC and state officials urge hunters to get their deer tested and to refrain from eating them should they test positive for the disease.

What about roadkill?

“ It’s time to start eating roadkills,” says a recent headline in a Colorado publication. The article goes on to say that “the stereotyped hillbilly eating roadkill has been replaced by an environmental food conscientious middle-class urbanite.” A far cry from corporate agriculture, indeed.

Oregon has just recently given the thumbs-up to harvesting road-killed deer and elk, joining about 20 other states that allow people to take meat from animals killed by vehicles.

Kip Adams, conservation director for the Quality Deer Management Association, said he has eaten road kill in the past and would have no trouble eating it now.

“But if I were in a CWD management zone, I would have it tested,” he said. You need to pay attention to state regulations and follow guidelines.”

“I would exercise caution when eating roadkill cervids (deer, elk, and moose), said prion scientist Zabel. “Assessing the health status of the animal at the time of death is nearly impossible. Indeed, evidence suggests that CWD prevalence in roadkill, and certainly prey of mountain lions, is higher, increasing the likelihood of eating prion-infected meat from road kill.”

Food safety tips

CDC advises hunters that “to minimize the risk for exposure to the CWD agent,” they should “consult with their state wildlife agencies to identify areas where CWD occurs and continue to follow the advice provided by public health and wildlife agencies.”

The agency also advises hunters to avoid eating meat from deer and elk that look sick or test positive for CWD. They should wear gloves when field-dressing carcasses, bone-out the meat from the animal, and minimize handling of brain and spinal cord tissues. As a precaution, they should avoid eating deer and elk tissues known to harbor the CWD agent (e.g., brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils, lymph nodes) from areas where CWD has been identified.

In addition, hunters should wash their hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed, and they should request that their animal is processed individually, without meat from other animals being added to the meat from their animal.

While out in the field, hunters should be on the lookout for animals that are unusually thin and exhibit behavior such as having trouble walking, as well as those acting tame around humans and allowing someone to approach them. Such circumstances should be reported to a state wildlife agency.

Matt Dunfee, the coordinator of the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance, said that hunters in most CWD areas are required to turn in the heads of any deer, elk or moose they kill so it can be examined for signs of CWD.
“Hunters are massively helpful in providing surveillance for wildlife agencies,” he noted.

Source: https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2019/02/fatal-brain-disease-in-deer-elk-moose-spreading-danger-for-humans/
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