Wyoming Game and Fish Department keeps close eye on chronic wasting disease in 2014
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance program again provided valuable information in 2014. CWD is a fatal neurological disease of deer, elk and moose. This disease was found in new areas this year, but only turning up in those deer and elk hunt areas that border known CWD areas.
Staff at the Game and Fish Department’s Wildlife Disease Laboratory in Laramie tested over 1,500 deer, elk and moose and provided information to hunters about whether the disease was present in animals they had harvested.
“As we have done since the mid-90s, we continue to collect a lot of CWD data annually. Good surveillance data helps us determine the spread and prevalence of the disease. Additionally this surveillance has proven to be beneficial to hunters. Even though there is no evidence that CWD can be transmitted to humans, we recommend people not eat deer, elk or moose that test positive for CWD,” Deputy Chief of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Wildlife Division, Scott Edberg said. “While CWD turned up in several new hunt areas, it likely does not reflect a change in the rate of transmission. We still know that CWD moves very slowly.”
The Game and Fish tests harvested deer, elk and moose for CWD in areas where it has not yet been confirmed. The agency also does testing in areas where CWD has been for years.
This year’s surveillance effort has identified seven new deer hunt areas: hunt area 36 near Shoshoni, hunt area 84 southeast of Rawlins, hunt area 98 northwest of Rawlins, hunt area 97 near Muddy Gap, hunt area 116 by Meeteetse, hunt area 123 in the Lovell area, and hunt area 160 near Lander. Elk hunt area 108 was the lone elk area identified, which overlaps deer hunt area 84. All bordered areas where CWD has been previously documented.
The Game and Fish Department continues to conduct vaccine research and evaluate options to better understand and limit the spread of CWD.
“While we did not detect CWD in any new hunt areas in 2013, we historically detect this disease in two to three hunt areas each year. Therefore, the rate of detection is the same averaged across the past two years. We are continually monitoring this disease and 2014 adds to the our understanding of CWD distribution and prevalence,” Edberg said.
For more information on chronic wasting disease transmission and regulations on transportation and disposal of carcasses please visit the Game and Fish website at: http://wgfd.wyo.gov/web2011/wildlife-1000284.aspx.
–Wyoming Game and Fish
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