RALEIGH — Chronic Wasting Disease, a transmissible and fatal neurological disease of deer and elk, was not detected in a recent statewide survey conducted by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
Humans are not known to contract CWD. No treatment or cure for CWD exists. Direct, animal-to-animal contact is a means of transmission, but evidence suggests that contaminated environments and equipment also present risks.
“CWD proves devastating to populations of cervids — the family of mammals that includes white-tailed deer, elk, mule deer and moose,” said Dr. Maria Palamar, wildlife veterinarian for the Commission. “The indications of this survey are welcome news.”
The diagnostic laboratory report was from a sampling of more than 3,800 free-ranging deer and elk beginning in 2013 and continuing through earlier this year. Biologists collected brain stem tissue and retropharyngeal lymph nodes from the animals.
“It was a successful and widespread effort to obtain samples,” Palamar said. “Much thanks goes to agency field staff in all divisions, certainly, but we have to especially thank all the deer hunters and processors who provided samples. We exceeded our sample goals. The survey also provided excellent CWD educational opportunities.”
CWD has been confirmed in neighboring states, with West Virginia reporting a case in 2005, followed by Virginia in 2010 and Maryland in 2011. Preventive measures are in place to reduce the risk of transmission in North Carolina, with stringent regulations governing anyone who holds captive cervids and regulations for hunters returning with hide, meat or trophies of cervids taken out of state.
For more information on CWD, go online to http://www.ncwildlife.org/Hunting/AftertheHunt/DeerDiseases/ChronicWastingDisease/tabid/375/CSSTabID/0/Default.aspx or call the Division of Wildlife Management at 919-707-0050.
CWD positive states are Virginia, North Dakota, Missouri, Michigan, New York, West Virginia, Utah, Illinois, Oklahoma, Minnesota, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Kansas, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, Iowa and Pennsylvania. Also, Canada’s Alberta and Saskatchewan provinces have reported CWD cases.