Steve Lightfoot, TPWD, 512-389-4701, email@example.com
Yvonne "Bonnie" Ramirez, TAHC, 512-719-0710,
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,
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
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
######## Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy #########
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Captive Deer Breeding Legislation Overwhelmingly Defeated During 2012
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
Tracking spongiform encephalopathies in North America
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.
Terry S. Singeltary Sr. P.O. Box 42 Bacliff, Texas USA 77518