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Author Topic: Chronic wasting disease found in North Dakota  (Read 1191 times)

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Offline mudbrook

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Chronic wasting disease found in North Dakota
« on: March 20, 2010, 09:03:32 PM »
Chronic wasting disease found in North Dakota

   North Dakota?s first case of chronic wasting disease, or CWD, has been confirmed in its deer population.

Randy Kriel, wildlife division chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said a 2?-year-old mule deer  buck shot Nov. 18 in Sioux County, Unit 3F2, tested positive for disease that affects the nervous system of members of the deer family.

Kriel said the Game and Fish Department was notified Wednesday morning by the U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinary service of the test results.

He said the hunter who shot the deer called the department after shooting the animal and reported it did not look healthy.

Symptoms of CWD can include loss of hair, a thin or emaciated appearance, weakness and changes in behavior, like keeping their heads down.

The disease has been identified in western states for more than 30 years and affects mule deer, whitetail deer, elk and rarely moose.

It is always fatal to the infected animals, but to date there has been no evidence that CWD can be transmitted to humans or livestock.

CWD can take a heavy toll on deer and elk populations ? and there?s little that can be done to stop its spread.

Kriel said the buck was shot in extreme western Sioux County about five miles north of the South Dakota border.

?The hunter did exactly what he should have done,? Kriel said.

The Game and Fish Department began sampling for CWD in 2002 and has tested more than 14,000 animals, said Greg Link, assistant wildlife chief.

Link said monitoring efforts have intensified in recent years and all units have been completed twice throughout the entire state.

?We have been constantly monitoring and enhancing our surveillance efforts for CWD because of its presence in bordering states and provinces,? he said.

The department cycles its surveillance throughout the state, splitting it into thirds.

The western third of the state was in this past season?s target area and more than 3,000 samples were sent to a lab in Minnesota for testing.

Kriel said the eastern third of the state is targeted for next year but additional monitoring will be done in Unit 3F2 as well as in surrounding deer hunting units.

?We will focus our efforts there as well,? he said. ?What?s important now is to determine the prevalence in the area.?

Kriel said the deer population in 3F2 is above management goals and there likely will be as many or more licenses issued for that unit next year as there were this past season.

Deer hunters voluntarily drop off samples for testing at checkpoints in designated areas, and Kriel said North Dakota hunters have been very cooperative.

?Obviously, our sportsmen are very well-educated,? he said.

He said if the public sees deer that do not look healthy, they can call the department?s wildlife division at 701-328-6351 or contact their area game warden.

(Reach reporter Brian Gehring 250-8254 or
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