From Wyoming Game and Fish Department
-- Six new Chronic Wasting Disease hunt areas have been identified by Wyoming Game and Fish Department personnel since the beginning of the Fall 2007 hunting season, including elk hunt area 110, deer hunt areas 23, 87, 122, 125 and 163.
Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, is a fatal wildlife brain disease that can affect all members of Wyoming's deer family. CWD had not previously been detected in these areas.
The sex, species, hunt areas and locations are as follows:
ù Female elk, elk hunt area 110, southeast of Encampment
ù Mule deer buck, deer hunt area 23, near Ucross
ù Mule deer buck, deer hunt area 87, eastern edge of the Ferris Mountains
ù Mature white-tailed buck, deer hunt area 122 near Lovell
ù Mule deer buck, deer hunt area 125, along Gooseberry Creek southwest of Worland
ù Two male mule deer, deer hunt area 163, southwest of Kaycee, near the Ed O. Taylor Wildlife Habitat Management Area
The lymph nodes of these animals were collected as part of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's CWD surveillance effort. According to Cody Region Wildlife Management Coordinator Kevin Hurley, testing for CWD is a two-pronged approach.
"The first test is an immunologic test called the ELISA," Hurley said. "When a sample tests positive, it is termed a 'presumptive positive' until the results from a second IHC (immunohistochemistry) test is known. In nearly every case, when the ELISA turns up a presumptive positive, it is confirmed positive by the IHC."
The lymph nodes located along the windpipe at the base of a deer's lower jaw are the tissues used for testing; the entire head from mid-neck forward must be provided. Department personnel will continue to conduct field checks of harvested animals and collect as many samples as possible.
Wyoming Game and Fish recommends that hunters transport only the following items: cut and wrapped meat, boned meat, animal quarters or other pieces with no portion of the spinal column or head attached, hides without the head, cleaned skull plates (no meat or nervous tissue attached), antlers with no meat or other tissue attached. The head, spine, and other nervous tissue - areas where the abnormal protein or prion causing the disease is found in infected animals - should be left at the site of the kill or disposed of in an approved landfill. Rubber or latex gloves should be worn when field dressing any animal and during butchering.
Although CWD has been diagnosed in some wild deer, elk, and moose in 10 states and two Canadian provinces, there is no confirmed link between CWD and any human illness. Animals show no apparent signs of illness throughout much of the disease's course. In terminal stages of CWD, animals typically are emaciated and display abnormal behavior.
Game and Fish personnel have sampled lymph nodes from more than 3,900 animals to date this year. Visit the Game and Fish CWD Web site for more information.