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CWD undetected in Massachusetts deer or moose

From Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

-- Based on data gathered during the 2009 deer hunting season, no evidence of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was detected in Massachusetts deer or moose.

Results from a federally certified veterinary diagnostic laboratory indicate all brain and lymph node samples taken from cervids during last fall's hunting season tested negative for the disease.

In late 2009 and early 2010, Division biologists collected 487 samples from hunter-harvested, vehicle-killed, targeted  and clinical suspect deer from across the state for CWD monitoring and testing. This was the eighth year of sampling in Massachusetts as part of a nationwide CWD monitoring and surveillance program. Five moose samples from vehicle-kills were submitted as part of the monitoring and surveillance program for 2009.

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disorder known to affect white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose. There is no evidence humans can become infected with CWD. It was first identified in the late 1960s in Colorado and remained located in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska for over two decades. In the past decade, CWD has been found in parts of the Midwest, several Canadian provinces and most recently in the eastern states of New York, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Massachusetts has implemented strict regulations to prevent the disease from entering the state and affecting either wild and captive deer populations. It is unlawful to import all species of live deer, including European red deer, sika deer, fallow deer and reindeer, all species commonly raised commercially.

It is also illegal for anyone to import process or possess whole carcasses or parts of deer or elk from wild or captive deer herds from states and Canadian provinces where CWD has been detected. The only exceptions to the regulation are meat that is deboned, cleaned skull caps, cleaned hides and finished taxidermy mounts.

By restricting importation to these specific deer parts, the importation of neurological tissue-which is where the disease-causing prions are located-is prevented, while sportsmen and sportswomen hunting in states with CWD can still safely use the deer they harvest.

For more information on CWD, check www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/wildlife/diseases/cwd_info.htm.

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