Chronic Wasting Disease

Currently, chronic wasting disease (CWD) has not been detected in Nevada, and state wildlife officials are urging residents heading out of state to hunt deer and elk to process their game before bringing it back home to reduce the risk of introducing the disease into the the state.

What Is CWD?

CWD is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) that is found in deer and elk. It is believed to be caused by a mutated protein, called a prion that attaches to, and transforms healthy brain proteins into disfigured mutations that lead to a deterioration of the brain, and ultimately death of the animal.

CWD is similar but different from scrapie (a disease found in domestic sheep), Bovine Sponfigorm Encephalitis (also referred to as "mad cow" disease) and Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (a TSE found in humans.) While similar to these diseases, there is no known causal link between CWD and other TSEs of animals or people. There is currently no evidence to indicate that CWD can be transmitted from elk and deer to livestock or humans.

Signs of an Infected Game Animal

Clinical signs of CWD include stumbling, poor body condition, excessive drinking and salivation and difficulty running. If you observe such signs, please report the sighting to your nearest NDOW office. Learn how you can help.

Sampling Efforts and Check Stations

CWD has not been detected in Nevada, yet sampling efforts in the state are ongoing. As of August 2009, the closest state to detect CWD in wild deer herds is Utah.
During the period August 2008 - August 2009, a total of 210 CWD samples from both mule deer and elk were collected in Nevada and submitted for testing. 205 samples tested negative for CWD. 5 samples were of unsuitable quality to test.

Nevada began routine testing for CWD in 1998. Through 2008, a total of 1,251 deer and 317 elk samples were tested and found negative for the disease. Samples were collected from a variety of methods, including contacts in field between NDOW biologists and hunters, check stations, road kills, and inspection at meat processing facilities. The majority of the samples came from hunter-harvested animals.

Biologists are keeping a close eye on population numbers and will continue to analyze samples by deer and elk game management units. In 2009, targeted mailings were sent to hunters with doe tags in areas 6, 10, 11 and 14. NDOW will be collecting both CWD samples from these animals as well as other biological data that will help us to better understand body condition of mule deer and potential limiting factors for the population. Test results of deer and elk samples collected through December 2009 will be publicly available by April 2010.

How You Can Help

Your observations of animals showing possible signs of CWD are extremely valuable to NDOW biologists in the effort to monitor CWD status in Nevada. Clinical signs of CWD include stumbling, poor body condition, excessive drinking and salivation and difficulty running. If you observe such signs, please report the sighting to your nearest NDOW office or to the Operation Game Thief number listed below.

Hunters who would like to donate a sample from their deer or elk for Nevada’s CWD sampling effort may do so by bringing the head of the animal to one of the locations listed below during normal business hours. Hunters who are having taxidermy work done on trophy animals may not want to donate a sample since the process may damage the cape.

Carcass Disposal:

As a preventative measure in Nevada, if the deer or elk carcass is brought out of the field, the best practice to dispose of the carcass is to bury the head and spinal cord, or dispose of it an approved landfill closest to your location. Please see list of appproved landfills. If you harvest an animal in another state, please follow that state's CWD disposal guidelines.

Click here for a Chronic Wasting Disease and Cervidae Regulations by State and Province Table. (Note: this table is intended for internet use only and may be too large to print.)

Operation Game Thief

1-800-992-3030

Elko

Nevada Department of Wildlife - Eastern Region

60 Youth Center Road

Elko, Nevada 89801

Phone (775) 777-2300

Elko

Nevada Department of Agriculture

4780 E. Idaho St.

Elko, Nevada 89801

Phone (775) 738-8076

Ely

Nevada Department of Wildlife - Ely Field Office

1218 North Alpha Road

Ely, Nevada 89301

Phone (775) 289-1655 (Please call first)

Reno

Nevada Department of Wildlife - Headquarters

1100 Valley Road

Reno, Nevada 89512

Phone (775) 688-1500

Winnemucca

Nevada Department of Wildlife -
 Winnemucca Field Office

815 East Fourth Street

Winnemucca, Nevada 89445

Phone (775) 623-6565 (Please call first)

Panaca

Nevada Department of Wildlife - Panaca Field Office

333 Cathedral Gorge Road

Panaca, Nevada 89042

Phone (775) 728-4233 (Please call first)


Regulations:

Carcass Transportation Regulations in the United States and Canada 

The number one objective in the management of CWD is to prevent its spread into new areas.

One theoretical mode of disease transmission is via infected carcasses. Therefore, in an effort to minimize the risk of disease spread, a number of states have adopted regulations addressing the transportation of hunter-harvested deer and elk. It is important that resident hunters, as well as hunters traveling to other states are aware of the restrictions that apply to them.

Since the suspected infective agent (prion) is concentrated in the brain, spinal cord and lymph glands, the most common regulation is the prohibition of the importation of whole carcasses harvested from CWD areas. Some states, like Colorado, also have established regulations addressing the transport of deer and elk out of CWD areas. Generally, states that have adopted carcass transportation regulations do not allow the importation of any brain or spinal column tissue and allow transport of only the following:

  • Meat that is cut and wrapped (either commercially or privately).
  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached.
  • Meat that has been boned out.
  • Hides with no heads attached.
  • Clean (no meat or tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached.
  • Antlers with no meat or tissue attached.
  • Upper canine teeth, also known as "buglers," "whistlers," or "ivories."
  • Finished taxidermy.

Since these regulations are continually evolving, it is recommended that before hunting you check the CWD regulations in your home state, the state in which you will be hunting and states in which you will travel through en route home from your hunting area.


Chronic Wasting Disease

Currently, chronic wasting disease (CWD) has not been detected in Nevada, and state wildlife officials are urging residents heading out of state to hunt deer and elk to process their game before bringing it back home to reduce the risk of introducing the disease into the the state. Learn more about CWD in Nevada.

West Nile Virus

West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). WNV is spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus is spread when a mosquito becomes infected by biting a bird that carries the virus. Learn more about WNV.

Trichomoniasis - Wild Dove Disease

Trichomoniasis is a disease that affects mourning doves and other wild birds. It is not transmissible to humans. It is caused by a microorganism that exists naturally. Doves are particularly susceptible to this disease and outbreaks are may be seen in late winter/ spring. When this occurs, birds commonly die at or near feeders or water sources, where the disease can be easily transmitted between doves.

Contaminated feed is suspected to be a significant source of disease transmission. Therefore, fresh feed should be placed in bird feeders frequently, if it is practical. Platforms and other surfaces where feed may collect, including the area under feeders, should be frequently decontaminated with 10 percent solution of household bleach in water, preferably just prior to placing clean feed in the feeder.