Wednesday, October 20, 2010




SHERIDAN - A cow elk sampled Sept. 12 east of Glendo in hunt area 3 has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), a brain disease known to affect some deer, elk and moose. The elk was located 13 miles east of Glendo and four miles northeast of Camp Guernsey.

"This animal had all the classic symptoms of CWD," said WGFD wildlife disease specialist Hank Edwards. "CWD samples were taken by Wheatland game warden Craig Smith and sent to the lab for testing."

According to Edwards, a positive for elk in this area is no surprise as elk area 3 overlaps deer hunt areas 15, 16 and 55 which have been endemic for 10 years.

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 on Oct. 15.

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 . (Contact: Al Langston (307) 777-4540) -WGFD-

Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Chronic Wasting Disease Activities for 2009

Preliminary Data as of 12/18/09


The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) conducted statewide surveillance for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in 2009. The WGFD divides the state into eight administrative regions. Considering each region as a "population," the surveillance goal was to test 500-600 deer from each region utilizing hunter harvest, road-killed, and targeted animals. This number provided a 99% probability of detecting CWD if it existed at = 1% prevalence. The overall goal was 3,000-4,000 samples statewide.

Hunter harvested deer and elk samples were collected at points of concentration, i.e., meat processors and check stations. Samples were taken by WGFD personnel from all divisions (wildlife, fish, services, administration). Only retropharyngeal lymph nodes were sampled because these nodes are rapidly obtained. Statewide training of WGFD personnel on sample and data collection was conducted prior to the start of the hunting season. The WGFD used the IDEXX enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to analyze lymph node samples. However, all IDEXX-positive samples were confirmed with the BioRad ELISA. All samples positive on both ELISAs were confirmed by immunohistochemistry.

Results were reported to hunters in less than three weeks of sample submission. Hunters could obtain results by accessing the Department’s web site. Hunters submitting a sample were given a unique bar coded number. The hunter could then access the web site, enter the unique number and obtain test results. Hunters having deer or elk testing positive for CWD were also individually notified by letter. The WGFD also notified interested state wildlife agencies by mail if a hunter from their state harvested a CWD test-positive animal.


A total of 4,635 deer, elk, and moose samples were analyzed. Of these samples, 130 tested positive for CWD representing 95 mule deer, 17 white-tailed deer, and 18 elk. New cases of CWD were diagnosed deer hunt areas (HA) 42, 46, and elk HA 35. The new deer and elk hunt areas are most likely natural extensions of the Wyoming endemic area.

Other Issues:

As of 2005, the Department incorporated moose into the CWD surveillance program. In 2009, we surveyed 185 hunter-killed, 22 targeted and 11 road-killed moose; all were negative for CWD.

For complete information on CWD in Wyoming please go to:

Mule Deer and White-tailed Deer


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