WRC seeks public input on revised Chronic Wasting Disease response plan

RALEIGH — The N.C. Wildlife Resources is inviting public comment on draft revisions to the state’s proposed response plan in the event of an outbreak of chronic wasting disease.

WRCChronic wasting disease (CWD) is a transmissible and fatal neurological disease of cervids –  the family of mammals that includes white-tailed deer and elk, which are both native to North Carolina. No treatment or cure for CWD exists. Direct, animal-to-animal contact is a means of transmission, but evidence suggests that contaminated environments and equipment also present risks. Humans are not known to contract CWD.

The draft revision may be viewed online. Send comments by email to maria.palamar@ncwildlife.org or in writing to CWD Response Plan, 1722 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1722. Comments will be accepted through Dec. 15.

“The proposed revisions for the CWD Response Plan improve an existing document, that would implement an effective action if CWD is detected in North Carolina,” said Dr. Maria Palamar, wildlife veterinarian for the Commission. “We would need to act quickly and efficiently to minimize detrimental effects to native wildlife. Thankfully, CWD was not detected in an extensive statewide survey conducted this year by the Wildlife Commission.”

All comments will be taken into consideration by Wildlife Commissioners, the agency’s 19-member governing board, at their January meeting when the revised plan will be considered for adoption.

CWD has been confirmed in neighboring states, with West Virginia confirming in 2005, followed by Virginia in 2010 and Maryland in 2011. Other CWD positive states are Ohio, North Dakota, Missouri, Michigan, New York, Utah, Illinois, Oklahoma, Minnesota, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, Iowa and Pennsylvania. Also, Canada’s Alberta and Saskatchewan provinces have reported CWD cases.

Scientists are researching live-animal diagnostic tests for CWD. Until a live test is approved, definitive diagnosis is based on post-mortem examination (necropsy) and testing. Scientists use a technique to test brain and lymph node tissue. Currently, only this testing is accepted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to confirm CWD.

For more information on CWD, go online or call the Division of Wildlife Management at 919-707-0050.

Filed in: Latest Headlines, Outdoors

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