Mad deer in Michigan and W.Virginia – 09/11/2005

  • November 11, 2013 at 11:15 pm #982

    We just learned that West Virginia had its first (reported) case of
    Chronic Wasting Disease. Now we hear about an unidentified disease in
    a Kent County, Michigan deer that causes loss of weight, foaming at
    the mouth and death. We also learn that the deer who died of this
    illness were taken to a landfill before testing. This is extremely
    dangerous…and stupid.

    It’s just ludicrous: “We’re kind of frustrated because the Kent
    County deer were taken to a landfill before we could test them,”
    Schmidt said.

    “Earlier this month, county police killed three emaciated, sick deer
    and saw two others in the same condition near Townsend Park. A few
    miles away, a woman saw a large buck suffering with similar symptoms
    die in her backyard, and a man killed a fawn that was thin, blind,
    drooling and losing hair, officials said.”

    Can we spell: ‘Mad Deer Roaming Michigan’?
    Patricia Doyle

    Officials Probe Deer Disease

    By Eric Sharp
    Free Press Outdoors Writer

    A strange illness that has affected wild whitetail deer in Kent
    County probably isn’t dreaded chronic wasting disease. But the
    Michigan Department of Natural Resources wants the public to help it
    learn what made the animals lose weight, foam at the mouth and
    stagger before they died.

    more at <<http>>

    “I’m pretty confident that it isn’t CWD,” Steve Schmidt, a DNR veterinarian, said Friday. “We’ve tested more than 17,000 deer, 400 elk and 20 moose in Michigan and haven’t found one case.

    “We’re kind of frustrated because the Kent County deer were taken to a landfill before we could test them,” Schmidt said.

    Earlier this month, county police killed three emaciated, sick deer and saw two others in the same condition near Townsend Park. A few miles away, a woman saw a large buck suffering with similar symptoms die in her backyard, and a man killed a fawn that was thin, blind, drooling and losing hair, officials said.

    “If it was CWD, it would be unprecedented to find that many showing obvious symptoms in a short space of time,” Schmidt said.

    CWD, first seen in Colorado and adjoining states about 35 years ago, is always fatal in deer and has since been found in Illinois, Wisconsin and New York. Visible signs include hair loss, emaciation, drooling and mental aberrations.

    Other deer diseases also produce those symptoms.

    Contact ERIC SHARP at 313-222-2511 or

    Also CWD Update:

    Date: 6 Sep 2005
    From: ProMED-mail
    Source: Canadian Food Inspection Agency News Release, 2 Sep 2005 [edited]

    Mad Wild Deer Found In Alberta

    Alberta’s ongoing chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance effort has identified the disease in a wild mule deer about 30 km south east of Oyen, Alberta. The case was confirmed today by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

    A member of the public observed a very thin deer, which was subsequently collected by a Fish and Wildlife officer from Alberta Sustainable Resource Development. Before this case, there have been 3 cases of CWD found in game-farmed animals in Alberta, and in Saskatchewan 68 cases in wild deer and a significant number of elk found on game farms.

    “This is an unfortunate finding in our wild deer population, but we are ready with a comprehensive approach to limit the spread,” stated Minister David Coutts. “As we have been doing all the way along in managing for CWD, we will be working closely with other departments and agencies, as well as the public and our stakeholders, in a response to this occurrence.”

    Although this is a serious disease for Alberta’s wild deer, and needs to be dealt with promptly, there is no known health risk for humans. Fish and Wildlife staff will meet with local residents to ensure they are fully informed while a step-by-step approach is taken to dealing with this new information. A limited collection of up to 50 deer in the immediate vicinity of the infected deer is planned for late September or early October 2005.

    Surveillance for chronic wasting disease in wild deer and elk in Alberta has been ongoing for almost 10 years, with hunter samples being submitted over the past 7 hunting seasons and special collections in areas of particular concern. About 6000 wild deer and elk from Alberta have been tested for the disease with no trace being found before this case. Alberta continues to be proactive in trying to manage CWD and is working with other provinces and the federal government to develop a national chronic wasting disease strategy and action plan.

    (Canada has had CWD in another province, Saskatchewan, but this is the 1st
    report in Alberta. – Mod.TG)

    CWD/Mad Deer Found In West Virginia

    Date: 3 Sep 2005
    From: ProMED-mail
    Source: West Virginia Division of Natural Resources News Release, 2
    Sep 2005 [edited]

    Chronic Wasting Disease Found In A Hampshire County Deer

    The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today [2 Sep 2005] that it has received confirmation that a road-killed deer in Hampshire County tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). “This is the 1st known occurrence of CWD in West Virginia,” said Director Frank Jezioro. “Upon receiving this confirmation, we initiated our CWD Response Plan, which is designed to effectively address this important wildlife disease issue.”

    The CWD Response Plan is specifically designed to accomplish the following goals:

    (1) determine the prevalence and the distribution of CWD through enhanced surveillance efforts;

    (2) communicate and coordinate with the public and other appropriate agencies on issues relating to CWD and the steps being taken to respond to this disease;

    (3) initiate appropriate management actions necessary to control the spread of this disease, prevent further introductions of the disease and possibly eliminate the disease from the state.

    The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, in cooperation with the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study located at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, has tested 1320 free-ranging deer from West Virginia for CWD since 2002, and the Hampshire County deer is the only animal found, thus far, to be infected with CWD. The positive CWD sample was collected from a 2-year-old male deer in Hampshire County as part of a long-term statewide CWD surveillance effort. The Hampshire County deer tissue sample was 1st tested at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens, Georgia, and then confirmed as positive for CWD by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa.

    CWD is a neurological disease found in deer and elk, and it belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. The disease is thought to be caused by abnormal, proteinaceous particles, called prions, that slowly attack the brain of infected deer and elk, causing the animals to progressively become emaciated and display abnormal behavior, invariably resulting in the death of the infected animal. There is no known treatment for CWD, and it is always fatal for the infected deer or elk. It is important to note that, currently, there is no evidence to suggest that CWD poses a risk for humans or for domestic animals.

    CWD was 1st recognized in 1967 in Colorado, and it subsequently was found in captive herds in 9 states and in 2 Canadian provinces and in free-ranging deer or elk in 9 states and one province. Earlier this year [2005], the disease was found as far east as New York. The source of infection for wild and captive deer and elk in new geographical areas is unknown in many instances. While it is not known exactly how CWD is transmitted, lateral spread from animal to animal through shedding of the infectious agent from the digestive tract appears to be important, and indirect transmission through environmental contamination with infective material is likely.

    “While the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources certainly considers this a serious wildlife disease situation with potential impacts on the state’s important deer management program, I am confident that our well trained and professional staff of wildlife biologists, wildlife managers and conservation officers will meet this challenge and implement appropriate management strategies,” said Jezioro. “In addition, we are most fortunate to have scientists and veterinarians stationed at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, including some of the foremost wildlife disease experts in the world, available to assist us in this effort.”

    More information on CWD can be found at the West Virginia Division of
    Natural Resources’ website:
    and the CWD Alliance website:

    Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer
    (304) 558-3380
    Contact: Paul Johansen , Wildlife Resources Section
    (304) 558-2771 or (304) 389-5077


    Earlier this year (2005), New York announced it had found CWD — see ProMED
    refs. below. Now West Virginia has found it. Nearby states will certainly step
    up their surveillance. Although this disease is a transmissible spongiform
    encephalopathy (TSE), it has not been shown to have any effect on humans. –

    [Elsevier reference:
    Hill AF & Collinge J 2003. Subclinical prion infection. Trends in Microbiology
    11(12): 578-584.

    Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
    Please visit my “Emerging Diseases” message board at:
    Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
    Go with God and in Good Health

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