In the early stages of CWD affected animals may not show signs of the disease

In the early stages of cwd affected animals may not

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In the early stages of CWD, affected animals may not show signs of the disease. As the disease progresses infected animals will show signs of weight loss, generally accompanied by behavioral changes. In later stages of the disease, affected animals may show emaciation, excessive drooling, increased drinking and urination, listlessness, stumbling, trembling, loss of fear of humans and nervousness. CWD appears to be passed between animals via saliva, feces or urine. Transmission between females and their fetuses (maternal transmission) does not seem to be a factor although indirect transfer, from contaminated soil for example, may occur. CWD may be transmitted more readily within overpopulated herds and at deer or elk feeding stations where direct physical contact among individuals is more likely. Prion diseases, like CWD, do not move easily between species. There is no scientific evidence that CWD has been transmitted to animals other than deer, elk and moose. Research has not demonstrated transmission of CWD between deer or elk and humans. Scrapie, a similar prion disease in sheep has been studied for centuries and has not been shown to be transmissible to humans. However, in Great Britain, BSE (“Mad Cow Disease”) was found to be transmissible to humans through the consumption of contaminated meat; the human form of this disorder is known as New Variant Creutzfelt-Jacob Disease (vCJD). As a precaution, people who handle deer and elk from areas where CWD is known to occur are being instructed to take special measures to avoid possible infection. As a general precaution it is recommended that people avoid all wild animals that appear sick and to not eat the meat from sick acting deer. The Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA), Delaware Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are integral partners in all CWD surveillance plans to assist in monitoring wild deer populations, and protect domestic animals and health. DFW, working in conjunction with these partners has conducted targeted CWD surveillance of sick deer and random surveillance of hunter harvested deer since 2002. Each year a sample of hunter harvested deer from each county are examined. The brain stem and lymph nodes are collected at deer processors and submitted to a lab for testing. To date, over 2,000 free ranging Delaware deer have been tested for CWD with none testing positive for the disease. DFW staff meet on a regular basis with their peers from the northeastern and southeastern states to discuss new information regarding CWD. Soon after CWD was identified in West Virginia in 2005, DFW staff attended regional CWD and public meetings held in West Virginia. DFW’s CWD Response Plan will guide Delaware’s response should CWD be detected within the State or within another adjacent state.
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