- CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE, CERVIDS - USA (ILLINOIS)
- A ProMED-mail post ProMED-mail, a program of the International
Society for Infectious Diseases http://www.isid.org
- Chronic Wasting Disease in deer has been recorded in
- By Diane Strand The Midweek News 3-18-4
- Cases of Chronic Wasting Disease among deer have been
found in northern Illinois and a program to address it is in progress,
said DeKalb County Board member Julia Fauci, at a county executive meeting
- Previously, cases have been found in southern Wisconsin
and in western states.
- Chronic Wasting Disease is a fatal neurological disease
found in deer and elk. The disease attacks the brains of infected animals,
causing them to become emaciated, display abnormal behavior, lose coordination,
and eventually die.
- Tim Schweizer, spokesman for the Illinois Department
of Natural Resources,said last week, "So far, in the past 2.5 years
that we have had positives, we have found 54 cases in the state from 4
counties: Boone, Winnebago, McHenry, and DeKalb. There have been 4 cases
in DeKalb County."
- Schweizer continued, "CWD only affects deer and
elk. We are trying to contain the disease and slow it by taking samples
of deer taken by hunters." Where they find the disease, the DNR destroys
deer in that area.
- Schweizer stressed, "There has never been any evidence
that it can be contracted by people or livestock." That position
has been supported by the World Health Organization.
- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources began to
monitor the wild, white-tailed deer herd for the disease in 1999. On 28
Feb 2002, the 1st cases of CWD were reported for 3 deer near the city of
Mount Horeb in south-central Wisconsin.
- For the last 2 years, the Illinois Departments of Agriculture
and Natural Resources have tried to prevent chronic wasting disease from
moving into Illinois. That has been difficult because the method of transmitting
it is unknown. It is even possible that animals can pick it up from the
- A State of Illinois news release reported, "Researchers
are just beginning to understand CWD. It is likely caused by an abnormal
protein called a prion. The means of spreading CWD is unknown, but could
involve close contact between animals or animals exposed to a CWD-infected
- "Usually months to years pass from the time an animal
is infected to when it shows signs of the disease. Classic CWD signs in
deer and elk 18 months or older include poor body condition, tremors, stumbling,
increased salivation, difficulty swallowing, and excessive thirst or urination,"
the release said.
- Concern has been expressed for both captive and wild
herds, including a growing industry of farm-raised deer and elk raised
- Though there is no scientific evidence that CWD can infect
humans, for safety's sake, experts suggest that hunters avoid eating the
brain, spinal cord, eyes, tonsils, spleen, or lymph nodes of white-tailed
deer and elk because the infectious agent tends to concentrate in those
tissues. WHO has recommended no part of deer or elk that show evidence
of CWD should be eaten by people.
- DNR has long advocated good hygiene by hunters, including
the wearing of rubber gloves when handling deer. Several years ago, CWD
was diagnosed in wild, free-ranging deer and elk primarily in northeastern
Colorado, southeastern Wyoming, Nebraska, Montana,Oklahoma, Kansas, South
Dakota, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.
- Scientists test for CWD by examining the brain tissue
- Illinois livestock regulations require that any captive
cervid (member of the deer/elk family) that dies from an unknown cause
and that has exhibited a neurological disorder must be tested for CWD.
- Programs are in place for establishing Certified Monitored
CWD herds of captive deer and elk.
- Illinois has participated in a "targeted surveillance
program" for CWD in wild deer for more than 5 years, because that
approach was first proposed by the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease
Study, a diagnostic and research service that investigates wildlife diseases.
- If individuals suspect local deer of having the disease,
they should contact the DNR's Wildlife Office at 217-782-6384
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