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"Oh Deer" – NC Wildlife Federation says Deer Population at Risk

"Oh Deer" – NC Wildlife Federation says Deer Population at Risk
Public News Service - NC | July 2014 |
PHOTO: North Carolina's deer population has not yet been affected by Chronic Wasting Disease, but wildlife conservationists say it could be at risk if not properly managed. Photo courtesy North Carolina Wildlife Federation July 2, 2014
RALEIGH, N.C. - More than 1 million deer live in North Carolina and, unless you're a hunter or wildlife-watcher, your most common concern probably is avoiding them on the roadways. But conservationists say there is a new worry for the deer, which starts with a line-item in the Legislature's House budget that would place the state Agriculture Department in charge of the deer population instead of the Wildlife Resources Commission.
Joe Hamilton, founder and development director of the Quality Deer Management Association, questioned the intentions behind the proposal. "If it shifts over to the Department of Agriculture," he said, "the Department of Agriculture looks at this venture as just another way to have a business on your private property." The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission also oversees the 37 captive-deer farms in the state, many of which support transferring control to the Ag Department.
One key concern is a disease affecting deer in other parts of the country. The commission has managed to control Chronic Wasting Disease, which is deadly and easily spread. Hamilton and others are concerned the Ag Department may not have the same success.
CWD affects animals with hooves, and particularly those with antlers. If the disease takes hold in North Carolina, said Tim Gestwicki, chief executive of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, it will be at the expense of taxpayers and other wildlife. "Fish, birds, non-game species - all those moneys could possibly be diverted to dealing with a disease that we do not have now," he said. "Why open the door to potentially bring that in when there's not been a problem?"
In the other 15 states where CWD is present, captive-deer farming is believed to be a major contributor, since many of the deer are transferred across state lines or even from other parts of the world.
Hamilton said he sees giving jurisdiction of North Carolina's deer population to the Department of Agriculture as too risky. "The states in the southeast that are CWD-free now are very subject to becoming CWD-positive with the promotion of the captive-deer industry," he said.
If the disease spreads to this state, experts believe it will severely impact hunting and other wildlife-related recreation - which generates more than $3 billion a year in North Carolina.
Stephanie Carroll Carson/Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - NC - See more at:
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Conclusions. To our knowledge, this is the first established experimental model of CWD in TgSB3985. We found evidence for co-existence or divergence of two CWD strains adapted to Tga20 mice and their replication in TgSB3985 mice. Finally, we observed phenotypic differences between cervid-derived CWD and CWD/Tg20 strains upon propagation in TgSB3985 mice. Further studies are underway to characterize these strains.
We conclude that TSE infectivity is likely to survive burial for long time periods with minimal loss of infectivity and limited movement from the original burial site. However PMCA results have shown that there is the potential for rainwater to elute TSE related material from soil which could lead to the contamination of a wider area. These experiments reinforce the importance of risk assessment when disposing of TSE risk materials.
The results show that even highly diluted PrPSc can bind efficiently to polypropylene, stainless steel, glass, wood and stone and propagate the conversion of normal prion protein. For in vivo experiments, hamsters were ic injected with implants incubated in 1% 263K-infected brain homogenate. Hamsters, inoculated with 263K-contaminated implants of all groups, developed typical signs of prion disease, whereas control animals inoculated with non-contaminated materials did not.
Our data establish that meadow voles are permissive to CWD via peripheral exposure route, suggesting they could serve as an environmental reservoir for CWD. Additionally, our data are consistent with the hypothesis that at least two strains of CWD circulate in naturally-infected cervid populations and provide evidence that meadow voles are a useful tool for CWD strain typing.
Conclusion. CWD prions are shed in saliva and urine of infected deer as early as 3 months post infection and throughout the subsequent >1.5 year course of infection. In current work we are examining the relationship of prionemia to excretion and the impact of excreted prion binding to surfaces and particulates in the environment.
Conclusion. CWD prions (as inferred by prion seeding activity by RT-QuIC) are shed in urine of infected deer as early as 6 months post inoculation and throughout the subsequent disease course. Further studies are in progress refining the real-time urinary prion assay sensitivity and we are examining more closely the excretion time frame, magnitude, and sample variables in relationship to inoculation route and prionemia in naturally and experimentally CWD-infected cervids.
Conclusions. Our results suggested that the odds of infection for CWD is likely controlled by areas that congregate deer thus increasing direct transmission (deer-to-deer interactions) or indirect transmission (deer-to-environment) by sharing or depositing infectious prion proteins in these preferred habitats. Epidemiology of CWD in the eastern U.S. is likely controlled by separate factors than found in the Midwestern and endemic areas for CWD and can assist in performing more efficient surveillance efforts for the region.
Conclusions. During the pre-symptomatic stage of CWD infection and throughout the course of disease deer may be shedding multiple LD50 doses per day in their saliva. CWD prion shedding through saliva and excreta may account for the unprecedented spread of this prion disease in nature.
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