Wyoming GFD Confirms CWD Found in Elk Near Sundance

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Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been discovered for the first time in elk hunt area 117 south of Sundance.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department Laboratory analyzed a sample from a targeted cow elk from hunt area 117 and the sample tested positive for CWD. The elk was found at Solider Creek, just east of Highway 85 about 5 miles west of the South Dakota border. Elk hunt area 117 has been considered part of the endemic area for deer (hunt area 6) since 2003. "This area has long been positive for deer and we just now found a positive elk in this area," said Hank Edwards, wildlife disease specialist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

The department recommends that hunters taking elk or deer in this area transport only the following items: cut and wrapped meat, boned meat, animal quarters or other pieces with no portion of the spinal column or head attached, hides without the head, cleaned skull plates (no meat or nervous tissue attached), antlers with no meat or other tissue attached. The head, spine, and other nervous tissue should be left at the site of the kill or disposed of in an approved landfill. Rubber or latex gloves should be worn when field dressing any animal and during butchering.

CWD has been diagnosed in some wild deer, elk, and moose in 10 states and two Canadian provinces. 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 Game and Fish Web site at:http://gf.state.wy.us.