Volume 2, September 2004

The Buck Stops Here!

Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (CSU-VDL) is beginning the third hunting season of testing for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in hunter-harvested deer and elk for the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW) and the hunters of the state. This testing is important to provide information to CDOW about the distribution and incidence of CWD so that management strategies can be developed and evaluated. It also helps preserve the economic viability of our state by giving hunters the option to know if their harvest is infected with CWD. In the first year of statewide testing, CSU-VDL working with CDOW, tested nearly 27,000 deer and elk, and validated the BioRad ELISA for CWD (ref Hibler, et al., J Vet Diag Invest 15:311-319, 2003). This rapid test allows for high volume rapid testing and is now the primary method of screening for both CWD and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in the United States. The test takes 4 to 5 hours to complete and up to 900 samples can be processed in a day. The second year of statewide CWD testing was lower at about 17,000 and a similar number is expected for this third season. Testing is done in CSU-VDLs new modular BSL3 unit on South Campus and also at its branch laboratories at Rocky Ford and Grand Junction.

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