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Moose with CWD Found in Western Wyoming

October 22, 2008.

From Idaho Fish and Game:

A 3-year-old female moose has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in Star Valley in western Wyoming, officials there report.

The disease has not been found in Idaho, and there are no known human health implications.

CWD is a fatal neurological disease of deer, elk and moose that affects the brain, causing weight loss, abnormal behavior and, eventually, death. Other indications include loss of body condition, excessive drooling, and drooping ears and head.

Animals showing these signs should be reported to a local conservation officer, a Fish and Game regional office or the Wildlife Health Laboratory at 208-454-7638.

Idaho has had a CWD testing program since 1997, focused especially on the Utah and Wyoming borders since 2002, where the disease is expected to show up first. Fish and Game takes about 1,000 samples each year.

Successful hunters visiting game check stations will be asked to allow biologists to obtain tissue samples from harvested deer and elk. Fish and Game also has started sampling moose in eastern Idaho. If the animal tests positive for CWD, the hunter would be notified.

Hunters who want to have their animal tested may contact Fish and Game for information on how to get it test at their own expense.

The infected moose, found about two miles south of Bedford, Wyoming, was suffering from an arterial worm disease. Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory confirmed that the moose also tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease.

Though CWD has been found in deer and elk in parts of Wyoming and other states, it is extremely rare in moose. Only three other wild moose in North America have tested positive for the disease; all of them were in Colorado, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department reported Friday.

Idaho officials continue to encourage hunters to wear latex gloves as a routine precaution when field dressing animals. Hunters also should avoid handling brain and spinal tissues, bone out meat when butchering and wash their hands afterward.

For more information about CWD go to the Fish and Game Web site at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/manage_issues/cwd.cfm, or www.cwd-info.org.

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