From Wyoming Game and Fish Department
-- The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has finished its fifth year of comprehensive Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance and added six deer hunt areas and one elk hunt area to its list of areas where CWD has been detected.
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological disease that affects deer, elk and moose. Animals show no signs of illness throughout much of the disease's course. In terminal stages of CWD, animals typically are emaciated and display abnormal behavior. There is no confirmed link between CWD and any human illness.
Game and Fish personnel collected 4,424 deer, elk and moose samples in 2007. Of those, 117 animals tested positive for CWD - 94 mule deer, 15 white-tailed deer and 8 elk.
New cases of CWD were diagnosed in deer hunt area 12 in eastern Niobrara County; area 23 in Sheridan County; area 87 near the Ferris Mountains in Carbon County; area 122 in Park and Bighorn Counties; area 125 southwest of Worland in Washakie County; and hunt area 163 in Johnson County. Elk hunt area 110 in southeastern Carbon County was also added.
"We're concerned that CWD continues to slowly spread, but it's not a surprise that CWD was found in these areas," said Scott Talbott, assistant wildlife division chief. "The new hunt areas are most likely natural extensions of the Wyoming endemic area."
Samples were collected by Game and Fish personnel at hunter check stations and meat processors throughout the state as well as road-killed animals and targeted animals showing signs of the disease.
Hunters participating in the surveillance program could check the results of their sample by accessing the department's website, and hunters whose deer or elk tested positive for CWD were notified individually by mail within three weeks of the sample submission.
The Game and Fish began testing moose for CWD last year in 2005. To date, no positive moose have been diagnosed in Wyoming.