- SYRACUSE, NY - New
York environmental officials said they received a preliminary positive
result for chronic wasting disease in a wild deer.
- The positive sample came from the tissue of a yearling
white-tailed deer, which was tested as part of the state Department of
Environmental Conservation's monitoring efforts in Oneida County. The sample,
tested at Cornell University, will be forwarded to the National Veterinary
Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, to be verified.
- If confirmed, it would be the first known instance of
CWD in the wild in New York state.
- The news comes just six days after state wildlife officials
reported none of the tissue samples taken from 64 wild deer had tested
positive. Authorities have so far confirmed five infected captive deer.
- The DEC began intensive monitoring after CWD was found
in two captive white-tailed herds in Oneida County. The state Department
of Agriculture and Markets completed testing of the captive deer in early
April and found five positive results for the disease in the two captive
herds. It marked the first time CWD had been found outside the Midwest
or Rocky Mountains.
- The DEC said it will file emergency regulations later
this week to ensure proper handling of deer in an effort to prevent further
spread of CWD in the wild. The regulations will establish a containment
area in Oneida County where CWD has been identified.
- Initially, it will include the cities of Rome, Sherrill,
Utica and Oneida, and the towns of Floyd, Marcy, Whitestown, Westmoreland,
Verona, Vernon, Kirkland and New Hartford.
- The new rules will prohibit movement of certain animal
parts out of the containment area, establish mandatory check stations for
any deer taken by hunters in the containment area, and prohibit possession
of any deer killed by a motor vehicle so DEC can acquire specimens for
- The collection, sale, possession, or transport of deer
or elk urine taken from the containment area also will not be allowed.
Urine is used by hunters to attract the animals.
- The emergency rules also will specify record keeping
and reporting requirements for taxidermists, and wildlife rehabilitators
will be prohibited from taking in wild white-tailed deer at facilities
that house live antlered animals unless the rehabilitators possess a specific
permit from DEC. Retailers who sell deer feed will be required to post
a sign reminding customers that feeding wild deer is illegal.
- "Our emergency regulations will be finalized by
the end of the week in the containment area," DEC spokesman Michael
Fraser said. "We're going to require hunters to check any deer. Right
now, we're sampling road kill, and in the fall we hope to sample results
from hunter-killed deer."
- DEC has conducted statewide sampling of wild deer for
CWD since 2002. To date, more than 3,700 samples have been taken from wild
white-tailed deer. Fraser said the intensive sampling of tissue in Oneida
County would end early Saturday.
- "We've always said we were going to take an adaptive
approach to the samplings," he said. "Now, we'll go about trying
to shift gears, change the approach a little and make a determination exactly
where it is and how frequently it's occurring."
- Concern the fatal disease could spread to humans arose
recently after 350 people at a sportsman's dinner in March ate venison
from sick deer. Scientists say they're still learning about CWD and can't
say for sure if it could be transmitted to humans.
- CWD affects the brain and central nervous system of certain
deer and elk. There is no evidence that it is linked to disease in humans
or domestic livestock other than deer or elk.
- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
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