American Cervid Alliance

APHIS Clarification on Wisconsin CWD Positive White-tailed Deer & Trace-out

February 5, 2014

Provided by Dr Pat Klein, USDA APHIS

APHIS Clarification on Wisconsin CWD Positive White-tailed Deer and Trace-out Information Posted on ACA Website (January 18, 2014)

APHIS would like to clarify information regarding epidemiological and trace-out investigations for the recent Wisconsin CWD positive white-tailed deer (index buck) and its herd of origin (trace-back exposed herd) related to the CWD rule and program standards.  

The index buck was identified in November 2013 as CWD positive on a Wisconsin hunt facility under the same ownership as the buck’s breeding herd of origin.  This breeding herd is considered the trace-back exposed herd and the herd is in quarantine.  There is relative risk associated with exposed animals in and from that breeding herd.  

The APHIS CWD rule defines and describes regulatory actions to be taken for positive, suspect, and trace-back/trace-forward exposed animals and herds.  Trace-back and trace-forward exposed animals and herds are discussed in relation to their exposure to the CWD positive animal

The CWD Program Standards are optional guidelines that describe suggested methods for complying with the requirements in the regulations.  Specifically, “Part B: Guidance on Responding to CWD-Affected Herds” provides suggested best management practices and other mitigation methods recognized as effective that may be used by an Approved State and herd owner to investigate and manage CWD-affected herds.

However, the CWD rule and Program Standards do not contain requirements for trace-outs beyond these trace-back/trace-forward herds.  Any additional actions would be at the discretion of State officials.

States have the discretion to issue either individual animal quarantines (or movement restrictions) or whole-herd quarantines for animals traced beyond the trace-back exposed herd based on a risk evaluation of the current herd.  For either action, States may want to develop a herd plan detailing any compliance concerns or requirements for enhanced mortality surveillance (animals sent to slaughter, hunt facilities) as determined by the risk evaluation.  In the Wisconsin trace-out cases, herd plans and any quarantines may remain in place no later than September 30, 2015, when the trace-back exposed breeding herd of origin will be cleared.

APHIS has held several teleconferences with Wisconsin and other trace-out States to provide guidance on approaches to address relative risk assessments for these traced animals in their current herd locations.

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