White-tailed Deer Harvested Near Cody, Wyoming Tests Positive for CWD

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A white-tailed deer harvested on Oct. 15 in deer hunt area 165 in the Bighorn Basin has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), a brain disease known to affect some deer, elk, and moose. The deer was harvested near the Greybull River.

CWD is a fatal neurological disease of deer, elk, and moose and with the discovery of the deer in this hunt area, 15of the 39 deer areas in the Big Horn Basin are known CWD areas.

Personnel at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department Laboratory analyzed samples taken as part of the department's annual CWD survey and discovered positive results for the deer. To date this is the only new area that has had a positive CWD test this year.

WGFD wildlife disease specialist Hank Edwards said the discovery of CWD in that area was not unexpected since there have been positive tests in animals in surrounding areas 122 to the north and 124 to the east.

After a review of available scientific data, the World Health Organization in December 1999 stated, "There is currently no evidence that CWD in cervidae (deer and elk) is transmitted to humans." In 2004, Dr. Ermias Belay of the Center for Disease Control said, "The lack of evidence of a link between CWD transmission and unusual cases of CJD, [Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a human prion disease] despite several epidemiological investigations, suggest that the risk, if any, of transmission of CWD to humans is low." Nonetheless to avoid risk, both organizations say parts or products from any animal that looks sick and/or tests positive for CWD should not be eaten.

For more information on chronic wasting disease visit the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website at www.cwd-info.org.
(Contact: Dennie Hammer (307) 527-7125)


Retired2hunt's picture

  I say it is only a matter


I say it is only a matter of time.  A matter of time that this disease spreads to far larger geographics... or a matter of time that this disease does make the leap across the line and is found in infected humans... or a matter of time that some research finally finds a vaccine and we start dropping feed pellets with the antidote so we can eradicate it.  Unfortunately the same fervor our scientist go after human diseases for cures/vaccines is not the same effort that is funded for researching the same for animals.  Hopefully I am wrong here and the gap is bridged already.  I agree with Vermonster here that some of the other diseases are far more devastating in a far shorter timeframe.  Our current efforts and regulations most likely have done a great job of slowing CWD but I would sure like to see a vaccination developed and eradicate some of these issues now.  I can only see things getting worse before they eventually get better.  History dictates this.


Ca_Vermonster's picture

I agree hunter, even though

I agree hunter, even though CWD is pretty much all throughout the west, in Wyoming, Colorado, etc., in small pockets, it is still sad to see whenever it pops up again here or there in a harvested deer or elk.  As I have said before, I tend to fear Blue Tongue, or hemmoragic fever, in game populations, because it's fast, and deadly to an entire local population.  At least CWD, with the exception of in captive deer, tends to strike at random.

I think it's going to be something we will have to live with in our deer and elk herds.  Maybe nature will work out it's own cure, or the disease will go into some sort of dormancy or recession.  Either way, we just need to educate the public and make sure they understand how CWD and other diseases are spread.  Limit the feeding oof deer and elk, especially in penned animals.  That is the only way to deal with it from now on.

hunter25's picture

Although they did state that

Although they did state that it was no surprise it is still sad to see the slow spread of this disease. It looks like no end in sight for this one but hopefully it will someday come to an end. It doesn't look from the 2004 articel that they are really willing to say that it can't spread to humans though. Just that the risk is low.