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Chronic Wasting Disease in White-Tailed Deer in Wyoming: Interaction with Livestock, Movement Patterns, and Evaluation of Ante-Mortem Diagnostic Tests

Investigators
Cook, Walter E; Williams, Elizabeth
Institutions
University of Wyoming
Objective

The stated objectives for this work were:
The primary goals of this study are: 1. to describe patterns of white-tailed deer movement in the Platte River corridor of Wyoming, and to determine how these deer interact with livestock, 2. to determine whether CWD infected white-tailed deer movements, habitat associations, and livestock interactions differ from those of healthy deer, 3. to evaluate the tonsillar biopsy as an ante-mortem CWD diagnostic test in white-tailed deer.

More information

White-tailed deer are the most numerous big game species in North America and their distribution extends essentially continuously from eastern portions of Wyoming east to the Atlantic Ocean. No studies have been conducted to examine movement patterns and habitat use of CWD infected white-tailed deer populations. White-tailed deer are expanding their ranges and increasing their population densities in many areas in Wyoming (Pauley and Lindzey, 1993). White-tailed deer in southeast Wyoming are more mobile than in other areas- a higher percentage of animals are migratory and they move greater distances than previously documented. Furthermore, in contrast to many other areas in the west, white-tailed deer migrations in southeast Wyoming are not limited to riparian corridors; on the other hand, these deer use riparian and agricultural habitats more than other habitat types (Sawyer and Lindzey, 2000).

Chronic wasting disease is laterally transmitted among deer and elk in captivity (Williams and Young, 1992; Miller et al., 1998). Modeling suggests that lateral transmission in the wild is necessary to maintain the disease at detected prevalences (Miller et al., 2000; Gross and Miller, 2001). Chronic wasting disease is probably transmitted among deer by direct contact and/or environmental contamination.

Diagnosis of the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) is problematic because typical tests for evidence of infection by pathogens, such as culture or serology for antibodies in the blood, are not possible. Immunohistochemistry for the abnormal protein (PrPCWD), which serves as a marker of infectivity, has been used successfully in tonsil and lymph nodes, in subclinically and/or clinically affected deer with CWD (Sigurdson et al., 1999; Miller and Williams, 2002; Wolfe et al., 2002). The very early (42 days post-inoculation) appearance of PrPCWD in lymphoid tissue of mule deer following experimental exposure (Sigurdson et al., 1999) suggests that biopsy of lymphoid tissues could provide a useful ante-mortem diagnostic test for CWD infection in white-tailed deer.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Cattlemen's Beef Assoc.
Project source
View this project
Categories
Bacterial Pathogens
Commodities
Meat, Poultry, Game