Chronic Wasting Disease Confirmed in Lavaca County Captive White-tailed Deer; Linked to Index Herd

AUSTIN – The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) announced that a captive white-­‐tailed deer in a Lavaca County deer breeding facility has been confirmed positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) in College Station detected the presence of CWD in samples submitted, and the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa confirmed the findings today.

The newly quarantined Lavaca County facility is a result of testing trace out animals that originated from a Medina County index captive white-tailed deer herd where CWD was first detected on June 30.

CWD was first detected in Texas in 2012 in free-­‐ranging mule deer in far West Texas in the Hueco Mountains. The Lavaca county herd is the second infected breeder herd detected in Texas.

“The investigation of the index facility in Medina County continues,” said Dr. Dee Ellis, TAHC Executive Director. “The TAHC, TPWD and USDA are diligently working with the breeder deer industry to assess disease transmission risks, and to protect Texas’ free ranging deer, captive deer and hunting industries.”

“TPWD will continue to work with TAHC, USDA and stakeholders representing wildlife conservation and deer breeding interests to implement measures appropriate to protect our state’s most popular big game animal, the white-tailed deer,” said Carter Smith, TPWD Executive Director.

The disease was first recognized in 1967 in captive mule deer in Colorado. CWD has also been documented in captive and/or free-­‐ranging deer in 23 states and 2 Canadian provinces. CWD among cervids is a progressive, fatal disease that commonly results in altered behavior as a result of microscopic changes made to the brain of affected animals. An animal may carry the disease for years without outward indication, but in the latter stages, signs may include listlessness, lowering of the head, weight loss, repetitive walking in set patterns, and a lack of responsiveness. To date there is no evidence that CWD poses a risk to humans or non-­‐cervids. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend not to consume meat from infected animals.

More information on CWD can be found on TPWD’s website, www.tpwd.texas.gov/CWD  or at the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website, www.cwd-­‐info.org.

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