The Missouri Departments of Agriculture, Conservation and Health and Senior Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced last week that a captive white-tailed deer in Linn County has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which is a neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose.
“There is no evidence that CWD poses a risk to domestic animals or humans,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Taylor Woods. “We have protocols in place to quickly and effectively handle these situations.”
The animal that tested positive for CWD was a white-tailed deer inspected as part of the state’s CWD surveillance and testing program. Preliminary tests were conducted by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
Upon receiving the confirmed CWD positive, Missouri’s Departments of Agriculture, Conservation and Health and Senior Services initiated their CWD Contingency Plan, which was developed in 2002 by the Cervid Health Committee, a task force comprised of veterinarians, animal health officers and conservation officers from USDA, MDA, MDC and DHSS working together to mitigate challenges associated with CWD.
CWD is transmitted by live animal-to-animal contact or soil to animal contact. The disease was first recognized in 1967 in captive mule deer in the Colorado Division of Wildlife captive wildlife research facility in Fort Collins, Colo. CWD has been documented in deer and/or elk in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the Canadian Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. There has been no evidence that the disease can be transmitted to humans.
“Missouri’s proactive steps to put a testing protocol in place and create a contingency plan years ago is proving beneficial. We are in a solid position to follow pre-established steps to ensure Missouri’s valuable whitetail deer resource remains healthy and strong,” said Jason Sumners, Missouri’s deer biologist.
For more information regarding CWD, please contact Dr. Taylor Woods at 573-751-3377.