AR-News: (US) CWD funding & transmission to humans?

Ronda Roaring rondaroaring at
Sat Apr 10 15:06:10 EDT 2004

Date: Thu, 8 Apr 2004 19:20:40 -0400 (EDT)
From: ProMED-mail 

Subject: PRO/AH> Chronic wasting disease update 2004 (01)

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: 8 Apr 2004
From: ProMED-mail 

Source: The Billings Gazette [edited]

Wildlife disease experts seek aid; chronic wasting disease called threat to
regional economy
- ----------------------------------
Experts in chronic wasting disease told members of the US Senate on Tuesday
that states are digging deep into their own pockets because the federal
government is not spending enough to monitor and research the illness.

They told members of a Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee
that lawmakers don't need to create new organizations to fight the deer and
elk disease -- instead, they should get out their checkbooks. "Federal and
state agencies involved in this endeavor concur that, collectively, all the
authorities that are necessary to manage this disease currently exist in
law," said Gary Taylor, who is the legislative director for the
International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. "What is most
needed are adequate congressional appropriations to the federal agencies
involved both for their efforts and to pass through to the state, fish and
wildlife agencies, state universities and state agriculture departments, to
manage CWD," he said.

Missoula resident and Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance project leader Gary
Wolfe told lawmakers that states are siphoning money from other priorities
to combat chronic wasting disease, a transmissible neurological disease
that produces small lesions in the brains of infected animals. "The CWD
Alliance is particularly concerned that this redirection of limited
wildlife agency funds is not adequate to address the CWD issue, and will
have negative impacts on other important wildlife management and
conservation programs," Wolfe said.

Cases of chronic wasting disease were first identified in Wyoming in the
late 1960s, and the disease was identified as a transmissible spongiform
encephalopathy (TSE) in 1978. It is similar to bovine spongiform
encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, and the sheep
disease scrapie. Although chronic wasting disease is contagious among deer
and elk, there has been no evidence of transmission from deer and elk to
humans, cattle or other domestic livestock.

E Tom Thorne, who is a veterinarian and wildlife disease consultant for the
Wyoming Game and Fish Department, said CWD efforts are drawing department
personnel away from other priorities. "It's a big area of concern," Thorne
said. "Probably a multitude of programs are suffering. CWD monitoring is
very manpower-intensive. They had to call on game wardens and hatchery
personnel and basically everyone to pitch in. If there was a warden
collecting CWD samples, he wasn't out there patrolling."

Senators were told that USD 52 million has been spent for monitoring and
research of chronic wasting disease since 2003. The federal government
provided USD 16.4 million in fiscal year 2003 and USD 18.5 million in
fiscal year 2004. During those 2 years, states provided USD 18 million. The
Bush administration has asked for USD 23.1 million for fiscal year 2005.

Senators were concerned that the administration's budget proposal would
provide only USD 4.2 million for research. "It just seems to me that USD
4.2 million is kind of meager considering the implications on wildlife,"
Sen Wayne Allard, R-Colo, said. Chronic wasting disease has been found in
wild elk and deer in Wyoming, but only on game farms in Montana.

While it is still unclear if chronic wasting disease can be transmitted to
humans, a jump in chronic wasting disease cases represents a greater threat
to the economies of Montana and Wyoming than to the public's health.

[byline: Ted Monoson]

Date: 8 Apr 2004
From: ProMED-mail 

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [edited]

CDC's role in monitoring for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies
- ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Statement of Julie L Gerberding, MD, MPH, director, Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services, before
the Committee on Appropriations US Senate: "Although CDC's investigations
to date have not identified strong evidence for a causal link between CWD
and human illness, the conversion of human prion protein to the disease
causing form by CWD-associated prions has been demonstrated in a cell-free
experimental study performed at a National Institute of Health laboratory.
This finding and the transmission of BSE to humans indicate that humans may
not be completely protected from infection by the CWD agent.

- -- 

[It must be remembered that absence of surveillance does not mean absence
of disease. States where CWD has not already been documented have been told
that there will be little or no federal funding for CWD surveillance in
2004. Although exercising caution with any of the TSE diseases is
appropriate, the leap from a cell-free experiment to human disease is huge.
- - Mod.TG]

[see also:
Chronic wasting disease, cervids - USA (IL)(03) 20040323.0808
Chronic wasting disease, cervids - USA (IL)(02) 20040321.0790
Chronic wasting disease, cervids - USA (IL) 20040319.0766
Chronic wasting disease, cervids - USA (WI)(02) 20040319.0765
Chronic wasting disease, cervids - USA (WI) 20040312.0690
Chronic wasting disease, cervids - Canada (SK) 20040218.0527
Chronic wasting disease, cervids - USA (CO, WY) (02) 20040124.0279
Chronic wasting disease, cervids - USA (CO, WY) 20040121.0240]

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