Chronic wasting disease found in Missouri deer

Thursday, February 25, 2010 | 6:52 p.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY — State officials have said a captive white-tail deer in northern Linn County has tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

The disease is transmitted from animal to animal or from soil to animal, and there is no risk to domestic animals or humans, the state veterinarian said Thursday.

Chronic wasting disease is a neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose. It has been documented in 15 states and two Canadian provinces.

The farm-raised deer in Linn County had been inspected as part of Missouri's chronic wasting disease surveillance and testing program. A representative from the agriculture department said the state immediately initiated a contingency plan to limit spread of the disease among the deer population.

The state-issued news release:

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Departments of Agriculture, Conservation and Health and Senior Services, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today that a captive white-tailed deer in Linn County, Missouri has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease. CWD is a neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose.
“There is no evidence that CWD poses a risk to domestic animals or humans,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Taylor Woods.  “We have protocols in place to quickly and effectively handle these situations.”
The animal that tested positive for CWD was a white-tailed deer inspected as part of the State’s CWD surveillance and testing program.  Preliminary tests were conducted by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
Upon receiving the confirmed CWD positive, Missouri’s departments of Agriculture, Conservation and Health and Senior Services initiated their CWD Contingency Plan.  The plan was developed in 2002 by the Cervid Health Committee, a task force comprised of veterinarians, animal health officers and conservation officers from USDA, MDA, MDC and DHSS working together to mitigate challenges associated with CWD.
CWD is transmitted by live animal to animal contact or soil to animal contact.  The disease was first recognized in 1967 in captive mule deer in the Colorado Division of Wildlife captive wildlife research facility in Fort Collins, Colorado. CWD has been documented in deer and/or elk in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the Canadian Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.  There has been no evidence that the disease can be transmitted to humans.
“Missouri’s proactive steps to put a testing protocol in place and create a contingency plan years ago is proving beneficial.  We are in a solid position to follow pre-established steps to ensure Missouri’s valuable whitetail deer resource remains healthy and strong,” said Jason Sumners Missouri’s Deer Biologist.

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