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Agriculture Today

Information about chronic wasting disease

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January 2, 2013 | 4,233 views | Post a comment

The Texas Animal Health Commission amended Chapter 40, chronic wasting disease (CWD), by adopting a new rule, titled “CWD Movement Restriction Zone.” The rule affects certain cervid species and delineates movement restriction zones and other necessary disease management practices related to the control of the disease in far West Texas.

The first cases of chronic wasting disease in Texas’ deer have been discovered in mule deer in the Hueco Mountains of southern New Mexico and western Texas.

Chronic wasting disease is not known to affect people, but a number of cervid species are susceptible, including mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, red deer, Sika deer, and moose. The progressively fatal disease is most commonly exhibited by chronic weight loss and abnormal behavior such as disorientation. Prions are the infectious agent of the disease and can be found throughout the body of an infected animal. The prions are present in the body fluids of infected animals and can be shed onto the soil, where they may remain infectious to other susceptible animals for many years. For this reason, the Texas Animal Health Commission rules apply to land as well as animals within the zones.

What is the rule?

The rule is intended to define susceptible species, establish boundaries for a High Risk Zone and Containment Zone, restrict movement within the zones, establish surveillance systems within the zones, and also address requirements for new or existing herds’ ability to gain chronic wasting disease monitored status designations by the Texas Animal Health Commission. Counties affected by the rule include El Paso and portions of Hudspeth, Culberson, Reeves, Ward, and Loving.

Restricted movement within the zones includes

•No susceptible cervid species may be trapped and transported from within either zone to another location.

•No susceptible species may be introduced into a herd within the High Risk Zone or the Containment Zone that does not participate in the Texas Animal Health Commission Monitored Herd Program.

•No susceptible species may leave a herd within either zone until it has achieved Level C status of five years or higher.

When establishing surveillance within the zones, no part of a carcass of a susceptible species (killed or found dead), within the High Risk Zone or Containment Zone may be removed unless a testable chronic wasting disease sample from the carcass is collected by or provided to the Texas Animal Health Commission or the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (excluding bones with no tissue attached).

Restrictions for chronic wasting disease monitored herd status designations within the zones include:

•Monitored herds already in the zones may keep their existing status if they continue to meet program requirements

•Susceptible species moved into newly established facilities in either zone will have their status reset to zero.

The Texas Animal Health Commission rule applies to the non-indigenous species of cervid species of Texas under its jurisdiction, including moose, red deer, elk, and Sika deer. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department also proposed similar rules for the cervid species it regulates (indigenous to Texas), including white-tailed deer and mule deer.

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