Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chronic Wasting Disease Detected in Far West Texas

Media Contacts:


Steve Lightfoot, TPWD, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.state.tx.us


Yvonne "Bonnie" Ramirez, TAHC, 512-719-0710, bonnie.ramirez@tahc.state.tx.us


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


July 10, 2012


Chronic Wasting Disease Detected in Far West Texas


AUSTIN -- Samples from two mule deer recently taken in far West Texas have been confirmed positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). These are the first cases of CWD detected in Texas deer. Wildlife officials believe the event is currently isolated in a remote part of the state near the New Mexico border.


The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) implemented regionally-focused deer sample collection efforts after the disease was detected in the Hueco Mountains of New Mexico during the 2011-12 hunting season. With the assistance of cooperating landowners, TPWD, TAHC, and USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services biologists and veterinarians collected samples from 31 mule deer as part of a strategic CWD surveillance plan designed to determine the geographic extent of New Mexico's findings. Both infected deer were taken from the Hueco Mountains of northern El Paso and Hudspeth counties.


CWD is a member of the group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Other diseases in this group include scrapie in sheep, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow disease) in cattle, and Cruetzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. CWD among cervids is a progressive, fatal disease that commonly results in altered behavior as a result of microscopic changes made to the brain of affected animals. An animal may carry the disease for years without outward indication, but in the latter stages, signs may include listlessness, lowering of the head, weight loss, repetitive walking in set patterns, and a lack of responsiveness. CWD is not known to affect humans.


Tissue samples were initially tested by the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in College Station, with confirmation by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.


"Now that we have detected CWD in Texas, our primary objective is to contain this disease," said Carter Smith, TPWD Executive Director. "Working collaboratively with experts in the field we have developed protocols to address CWD and implementation is already under way."


There is no vaccine or cure for CWD, but steps have been taken to minimize the risk of the disease spreading from beyond the area where it currently exists. For example, human-induced movements of wild or captive deer, elk, or other susceptible species will be restricted and mandatory hunter check stations will be established.


"This is obviously an unfortunate and rather significant development," said TPW Commission Chairman, T. Dan Friedkin. "We take the presence of this disease very seriously and have a plan of action to deal with it. The Department will do whatever is prudent and reasonable to protect the state's deer resources and our hunting heritage."


Although wildlife officials cannot say how long the disease has been present in Texas or if it occurs in other areas of the state, they have had an active CWD surveillance program for more than a decade.


"We have tested more than 26,500 wild deer in Texas since 2002, and the captive-deer industry has submitted more than 7,400 CWD test results as well," said Mitch Lockwood, Big Game Program Director with TPWD. "But that part of West Texas is the toughest place to conduct an adequate CWD surveillance program because so few deer are harvested out there each hunting season. Thanks to the cooperation and active participation of several landowners, we were able to begin getting an idea of the prevalence and geographic distribution of the disease without needing to remove many deer."


The TAHC regulates cervid species not indigenous to Texas such as elk, red deer, and sika deer. TAHC oversees a voluntary CWD herd monitoring status program with the intent to facilitate trade and marketability for interested cervid producers in Texas. Cervid herds under either TPWD or TAHC authority may participate in the commission's monitored CWD program. The basis of the program is that enrolled cervid producers must provide an annual herd inventory, and ensure that all mortalities during the previous year were tested for CWD and the disease was not detected.


Wildlife biologists, hunters, and landowners would certainly have preferred for Texas mule deer populations to have not been dealt this challenge, but TPWD and TAHC have developed a CWD Management Plan that includes management practices intended to contain the disease. The management plan includes input from the CWD Task Force, which is comprised of deer and elk producers, wildlife biologists, veterinarians and other animal-health experts from TPWD, Texas Animal Health Commission, Department of State Health Services, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, and USDA.


The disease was first recognized in 1967 in captive mule deer in Colorado. CWD has also been documented in captive and/or free-ranging deer in 19 states and 2 Canadian provinces, including neighboring New Mexico.


"We know that elk in southern New Mexico are also infected with CWD," said Dr. Dee Ellis, State Veterinarian and TAHC Executive Director. "It will take a cooperative effort between hunters, the cervid industry, and state/federal animal health and wildlife agencies to ensure we keep this disease confined to southern New Mexico and far West Texas. I am confident however that will be able to do that, and thus protect the rest of the Texas cervid industry."


More information on CWD can be found on TPWD's website, www.tpwd.state.tx.us/CWD or at the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website, www.cwd-info.org.


More information about the TAHC CWD herd monitoring status program may be found at http://tahc.state.tx.us/animal_health/cwd/cwd.html.


Founded in 1893, the Texas Animal Health Commission works to protect the health of all Texas livestock, including: cattle, swine, poultry, sheep, goats, equine animals, and exotic livestock.


###









The fact of the matter is, CWD has been waltzing across Texas for over a decade from the WSMR at New Mexico border, and the state of Texas, in my opinion, knew this. in my opinion, the state of Texas purposely tested the least amount of cervids in that area for years, why, they knew it was there, and I warned you of this in 2001, 2005, and year after year after year. now, it’s too late. Game farms and ranchers i.e. high fence operations here in Texas are out of control in my opinion, with the TAHC not having a clue as to the infection rate of CWD (if any) at these high fence operations. it has been proven in the past, they are nothing but a petri dish for CWD infection rates, with the highest infection rate in Wisconsin at the Buckhorn Flats Game farm toping out at 80%. TAHC actions now on CWD, as I finally applaud them, may well be much too late, and not near enough. I pray that I am wrong. However, because of this, I think the movement restrictions on cervids in Texas should include every region in the state of Texas, until a very large cwd sampling over a period of 7 to 10 years. ...



here are a few of my pleas to the TAHC about CWD waltzing into Texas for over a decade ;




2001 – 2002




Subject: Texas Borders Reopened for Importing Black-Tailed Deer & Elk New Entry Regulations in Effect $ CWD TESTING STATISTICS ?


Date: Fri, 6 Sep 2002 17:18:16 –0700


From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."


Reply-To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy


To: BSE-L@uni-karlsruhe.de


######## Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy #########


NEWS RELEASE


Texas Animal Health Commission


Box l2966 * Austin, Texas 78711 * (800) 550-8242 * FAX (512) 719-0719


Linda Logan, DVM, PhD * Executive Director


For info, contact Carla Everett, information officer, at 1-800-550-8242, ext. 710, or ceverett@tahc.state.tx.us


snip...


TEXAS OLD STATISTICS BELOW FOR PAST CWD TESTING;


Subject: CWD testing in Texas


Date: Sun, 25 Aug 2002 19:45:14 –0500


From: Kenneth Waldrup


To: flounder@wt.net


CC: mcoats@tahc.state.tx.us


Dear Dr. Singletary,


In Fiscal Year 2001, seven deer from Texas were tested by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) for CWD (5 fallow deer and 2 white-tailed deer). In Fiscal Year 2002, seven elk from Texas were tested at NVSL (no deer). During these two years, an additional six elk and one white-tailed deer were tested at the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL). In Fiscal Year 2002, four white-tailed deer (free-ranging clinical suspects) and at least eight other white-tailed deer have been tested at TVMDL. One elk has been tested at NVSL. All of these animals have been found negative for CWD. Dr. Jerry Cooke of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department also has records of 601 clinically ill white-tailed deer which were necropsied at Texas A&M during the late 1960's and early 1970's, and no spongiform encepalopathies were noted.


Thank you for your consideration.


Ken Waldrup, DVM, PhD Texas Animal Health Commission




========================




see history of my failed attempts to get the TAHC to start testing for CWD in far west Texas started back in 2001 – 2002 ;




Saturday, July 07, 2012



TEXAS Animal Health Commission Accepting Comments on Chronic Wasting Disease Rule Proposal


Considering the seemingly high CWD prevalence rate in the Sacramento and Hueco Mountains of New Mexico, CWD may be well established in the population and in the environment in Texas at this time.








Wednesday, June 13, 2012


TAHC Modifies Entry Requirements Effective Immediately for Cervids DUE TO CWD


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE






Tuesday, June 05, 2012


Captive Deer Breeding Legislation Overwhelmingly Defeated During 2012 Legislative Session






Thursday, May 31, 2012


CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE CWD PRION2012 Aerosol, Inhalation transmission, Scrapie, cats, species barrier, burial, and more





LANCET INFECTIOUS DISEASE JOURNAL



Volume 3, Number 8 01 August 2003
 
 
 
Newsdesk
 
 
Tracking spongiform encephalopathies in North America
 
 
Xavier Bosch
 
 
My name is Terry S Singeltary Sr, and I live in Bacliff, Texas. I lost my mom to hvCJD (Heidenhain variant CJD) and have been searching for answers ever since. What I have found is that we have not been told the truth. CWD in deer and elk is a small portion of a much bigger problem.
 
 
 
49-year-old Singeltary is one of a number of people who have remained largely unsatisfied after being told that a close relative died from a rapidly progressive dementia compatible with spontaneous Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). So he decided to gather hundreds of documents on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) and realised that if Britons could get variant CJD from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), Americans might get a similar disorder from chronic wasting disease (CWD)the relative of mad cow disease seen among deer and elk in the USA. Although his feverish search did not lead him to the smoking gun linking CWD to a similar disease in North American people, it did uncover a largely disappointing situation.
 
 
 
Singeltary was greatly demoralised at the few attempts to monitor the occurrence of CJD and CWD in the USA. Only a few states have made CJD reportable. Human and animal TSEs should be reportable nationwide and internationally, he complained in a letter to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 2003; 285: 733). I hope that the CDC does not continue to expect us to still believe that the 85% plus of all CJD cases which are sporadic are all spontaneous, without route or source.
 
 
 
Until recently, CWD was thought to be confined to the wild in a small region in Colorado. But since early 2002, it has been reported in other areas, including Wisconsin, South Dakota, and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. Indeed, the occurrence of CWD in states that were not endemic previously increased concern about a widespread outbreak and possible transmission to people and cattle.
 
 
 
To date, experimental studies have proven that the CWD agent can be transmitted to cattle by intracerebral inoculation and that it can cross the mucous membranes of the digestive tract to initiate infection in lymphoid tissue before invasion of the central nervous system. Yet the plausibility of CWD spreading to people has remained elusive.
 
 
 
Part of the problem seems to stem from the US surveillance system. CJD is only reported in those areas known to be endemic foci of CWD. Moreover, US authorities have been criticised for not having performed enough prionic tests in farm deer and elk.
 
 
 
Although in November last year the US Food and Drug Administration issued a directive to state public-health and agriculture officials prohibiting material from CWD-positive animals from being used as an ingredient in feed for any animal species, epidemiological control and research in the USA has been quite different from the situation in the UK and Europe regarding BSE.
 
 
 
Getting data on TSEs in the USA from the government is like pulling teeth, Singeltary argues. You get it when they want you to have it, and only what they want you to have.
 
 
 
Norman Foster, director of the Cognitive Disorders Clinic at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI, USA), says that current surveillance of prion disease in people in the USA is inadequate to detect whether CWD is occurring in human beings; adding that, the cases that we know about are reassuring, because they do not suggest the appearance of a new variant of CJD in the USA or atypical features in patients that might be exposed to CWD. However, until we establish a system that identifies and analyses a high proportion of suspected prion disease cases we will not know for sure. The USA should develop a system modelled on that established in the UK, he points out.
 
 
 
Ali Samii, a neurologist at Seattle VA Medical Center who recently reported the cases of three hunterstwo of whom were friendswho died from pathologically confirmed CJD, says that at present there are insufficient data to claim transmission of CWD into humans; adding that [only] by asking [the questions of venison consumption and deer/elk hunting] in every case can we collect suspect cases and look into the plausibility of transmission further. Samii argues that by making both doctors and hunters more aware of the possibility of prions spreading through eating venison, doctors treating hunters with dementia can consider a possible prion disease, and doctors treating CJD patients will know to ask whether they ate venison.
 
 
 
CDC spokesman Ermias Belay says that the CDC will not be investigating the [Samii] cases because there is no evidence that the men ate CWD-infected meat. He notes that although the likelihood of CWD jumping the species barrier to infect humans cannot be ruled out 100% and that [we] cannot be 100% sure that CWD does not exist in humans& the data seeking evidence of CWD transmission to humans have been very limited.
 
 
 


layperson


Terry S. Singeltary Sr. P.O. Box 42 Bacliff, Texas USA 77518 flounder9@verizon.net


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