Friday, November 04, 2011

Elk escape from captive cervid facility in Pennsylvania near West Virginia border

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

Earl Ray Tomblin, Governor

Frank Jezioro, Director

News Release: November 4, 2011

Facebook: WV Commerce - State Parks

Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer 304-957-9365

Contact: Curtis Taylor, Wildlife Resources Section Chief


Elk escape from captive cervid facility in Pennsylvania near West Virginia border

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) has confirmed with officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) that at least two elk, including one adult bull and one cow, have escaped from a captive cervid facility (deer and elk farms) in Greene County, Pa. Greene County shares a common border with Marshall, Wetzel and Monongalia counties in West Virginia. The elk escaped from a captive cervid facility located approximately three miles from the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border.

The PDA regulates captive cervid facilities in Pennsylvania. A representative of the agency was unaware if the recent escaped elk were tagged. The WVDNR regulates captive cervid facilities in West Virginia. In West Virginia, all captive cervids in breeding facilities must be ear-tagged, and there are currently no reported elk escapes from any facility in West Virginia.

A bull elk has been seen recently in Wetzel County, W.Va., according to WVDNR officials. There have been no reports of cow elk sightings in either Wetzel County, W.Va., or Greene County, Pa. No free-ranging wild elk live within 150 miles of Wetzel County. The elk sighted in Wetzel County is likely the escaped animal from the captive facility in Pennsylvania.

Contact between escaped captive deer or elk and free-ranging white-tailed deer increases the risk of disease transmission from the captive animals to the native herd, according WVDNR biologists. The movement and/or escape of captive deer and elk increases this risk of contact and are one of the many possible modes of transmission for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) from captive cervids to free-ranging white-tailed deer.

The State of Missouri recently documented CWD in a captive cervid facility. Texas Parks and Wildlife had to euthanize a large captive deer herd after illegal importation of white-tailed deer from a captive facility in Arkansas.

“Monitoring and protecting West Virginia’s deer herd from CWD and other diseases is crucial to West Virginia’s economy and its natural resources,” said WVDNR Director Frank Jezioro. “Deer hunting provides tremendous recreational opportunities for hunters and wildlife viewers, has a large economic impact on its rural communities, and brings in many out-of-state hunters each season to West Virginia.”

WVDNR advises residents in Marshall, Wetzel and Monongalia counties to contact the Farmington District Office at 304-825-6787 if they see an elk in these counties. Hunters are reminded that it is illegal to harvest any free-ranging elk in West Virginia.



Thursday, June 09, 2011

Detection of CWD prions in salivary, urinary, and intestinal tissues of deer: potential mechanisms of prion shedding and transmission

Nicholas J. Haley1, Candace K. Mathiason1, Scott Carver1, Mark Zabel1, Glenn C. Telling2, and Edward A. Hoover1,*

1 Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

2 Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA

* Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 80523. Phone: (970)491-7587, Fax: (970)491-0523. Email:


Efficient horizontal transmission is a signature trait of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in cervids. Infectious prions shed into excreta appear to play a key role in this facile transmission, as has been demonstrated by bioassay in cervid and transgenic species and serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (sPMCA). However, the source(s) of infectious prions in these body fluids have yet to be identified. In the present study, we analyzed tissues proximate to saliva, urine, and feces production by sPMCA in an attempt to elucidate this unique aspect of CWD pathogenesis. Oropharyngeal, urogenital, and gastrointestinal tissues, along with blood and obex from CWD-exposed cervids (comprising 27 animals and >350 individual samples) were analyzed and scored based on apparent relative CWD burden. PrPCWD-generating activity was detected in a range of tissues, and was highest in salivary gland, urinary bladder, and the distal intestinal tract. In the same assays, blood from the same animals and unseeded normal brain homogenate controls (n= 116 of 117) remained negative. PrP-converting activity in peripheral tissues varied from 10-11 to 100 - fold that found in brain of the same animal. Deer with highest levels of PrPCWD amplification in the brain had higher and more widely disseminated prion amplification in excretory tissues. Interestingly, PrPCWD was not demonstrable by conventional western blotting in these excretory tissues, suggesting low prion burden or the presence of protease-sensitive infectious prions destroyed by harsh proteolytic treatments. These findings offer unique insights into the transmission of CWD in particular, and prion infection and trafficking overall.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Modeling Routes of Chronic Wasting Disease Transmission: Environmental Prion Persistence Promotes Deer Population Decline and Extinction

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Environmental Sources of Scrapie Prions

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

CWD Update 102 October 20, 2011

EFSA Journal 2011 The European Response to BSE: A Success Story

This is an interesting editorial about the Mad Cow Disease debacle, and it's ramifications that will continue to play out for decades to come ;

Monday, October 10, 2011

EFSA Journal 2011 The European Response to BSE: A Success Story


EFSA and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recently delivered a scientific opinion on any possible epidemiological or molecular association between TSEs in animals and humans (EFSA Panel on Biological Hazards (BIOHAZ) and ECDC, 2011). This opinion confirmed Classical BSE prions as the only TSE agents demonstrated to be zoonotic so far but the possibility that a small proportion of human cases so far classified as "sporadic" CJD are of zoonotic origin could not be excluded. Moreover, transmission experiments to non-human primates suggest that some TSE agents in addition to Classical BSE prions in cattle (namely L-type Atypical BSE, Classical BSE in sheep, transmissible mink encephalopathy (TME) and ***chronic wasting disease (CWD) agents) might have zoonotic potential.


see follow-up here about North America BSE Mad Cow TSE prion risk factors, and the ever emerging strains of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy in many species here in the USA, including humans ;

Monday, June 27, 2011

Zoonotic Potential of CWD: Experimental Transmissions to Non-Human Primates

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Discovery of CWD in Missouri Reinforces Need for Vigilance in Texas

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Chronic Wasting Disease fears prompt new authority for Pennsylvania Game Commission director



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