CWD Deer Found In Utah

From Patricia Doyle, PhD

If we do more extensive nvTSE (mad cow) testing in cattle, I would just bet we would find cases. I also think that if other states, as far east as New York, test for Chronic Wasting Disease in deer they will find cases.
Although the "expert" prionologists will disagree with me, I choose to call cases of mad cow, nvTSE, whether in deer, cattle, elk etc. By separating via names, i.e. BSE, CWD, GSS, TSE, TME etc etc we confuse the issue. It is all the same, and should be recognized as such.
From ProMED-mail Source: Utah Wildlife (edited)
A buck deer taken by a hunter in northeastern Utah has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), the Division of Wildlife Resources has announced.
"The Division of Wildlife Resources has been looking for Chronic Wasting Disease in Utah since 1998," said Jim Karpowitz, big game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "When the Colorado Division of Wildlife discovered a CWD-positive deer near the town of Craig in early 2002, we decided to intensify our surveillance efforts, focusing on mule deer populations along the Colorado border."
Nearly 1500 brain samples were collected from deer and elk in Utah in fall 2002. Almost 1400 of the deer and elk have been tested for CWD so far, with only one positive sample.
The positive sample came from a mature buck deer taken this fall on Diamond Mountain, just north of Vernal. Utah State University is conducting CWD testing for the DWR. See URL above for map.
"It's important to remember that there is currently no evidence that CWD can be naturally transmitted to humans or livestock," Karpowitz said. "It also does not appear to cause catastrophic die-offs in deer and elk populations."
A great deal of research is being conducted by many agencies and organizations to learn more about this relatively new disease. "Until more is known, we'll continue to be diligent with our surveillance and management efforts and provide the public with the most current information available," Karpowitz said.
Another excellent source of information is a national Web site run by the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance ( "This site includes links to CWD information on other Web sites," Karpowitz said. "I would encourage people to link from it to Wisconsin's site, which has some excellent information about CWD."
Date 19 Feb 2003 From ProMED-mail Source: Casper Star Tribune (edited) 2-19-03
The discovery of chronic wasting disease in a Utah deer was not unexpected but also not welcome.
''I'm not surprised, but a little disappointed,'' said Jim Karpowitz, state Division of Wildlife Resources big game coordinator. ''It'll change the way we do business. If it's a limited area, we'd be happy.''
The disease was found in a sample from a mule deer buck killed by a hunter last fall [2002] on Diamond Mountain, north of Vernal in northeastern Utah.
This first confirmation of the disease in the state was reported Tuesday.
Utah officials plan to aggressively expand testing in the wake of the discovery.
The state Department of Natural Resources had increased its surveillance for the disease since a deer near Craig, Colorado, tested positive for it in early 2002.
The disease has been known since at least the 1970s in Colorado and Wyoming. It has been found more recently in Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Canada.
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is in the same family as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease. It is a degenerative brain disorder characterized by tiny holes that give the brain a spongy appearance.
"It's important to remember that there is currently no evidence that CWD can be naturally transmitted to humans or livestock," Karpowitz said,
"I killed an elk last year in eastern Utah and my son Dan killed a deer, and we intend to eat both of them," he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have said there is no evidence that people can contract the disease from eating deer. However, mad-cow disease did jump the species barrier in Europe, and the issue remains under study.
The World Health Organization advises people not to eat any deer or elk that's known to be infected with the disease, and it also suggests against consuming certain tissues of any deer or elk, including the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils, and lymph nodes.
Utah hunters cannot have meat in their freezer tested, but in the future animal heads can be tested at Utah State Diagnostic lab in Logan.
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at: Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health



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