Occurrence of Hemorrhagic Disease in Illinois: Four Decades of Spatial and Temporal Changes

By Dr. Nelda A. Rivera, Dr. Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, and Dr. Jan Novakofski
HD outbreaks in white-tailed deer in the U.S. are usually seasonal, occurring from mid-summer to late autumn. The year 1998 was the first year with 163 reported HD cases in 16 counties in Illinois. In 2018, the number of HD cases reported was 462, and by 2019, 99 counties had reported cases in Illinois. Panel B modified from Dorak et al., 2022.

CHAMPAIGN, IL – In a recent study, 38 years of historical data were used to analyze Illinois’s spatial and temporal changes in Hemorrhagic disease (HD) affecting wild white-tailed deer.

“The results of Dorak et al. (2022) corroborate the importance of expanding surveillance efforts, collecting precise geographic locations during outbreaks, and the vital role of virus isolation in helping wildlife agencies understand and predict HD outbreaks and better inform the public.”

Read the whole story at the Outdoor Illinois Wildlife Journal, here.

CWD Management in Illinois: Improving Turnaround Time

By Nelda A. Rivera, Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, William M. Brown.

“Some advantages of including the ELISA test are that ELISA uses fresh tissue, eliminating exposure to Formaldehyde for those taking and processing the samples. Furthermore, fresh samples can be shipped frozen and stored in less expensive containers (e.g., Whirl-Pak bags). Thus, they require less storage space and, therefore, reduce shipping costs. In addition, ELISA typically has a 4-day turnaround for results depending on the capacity of the diagnostic laboratory.”

During FY 2021, most of the samples received were processed within the first two weeks after the kill date. Therefore, there was a higher percentage of all the samples with completed test results by weeks 10 to 12 (Figure 3; Table 2).

CHAMPAIGN, IL – During the fiscal year 2021, the IDNR surveillance management program—in partnership with Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory—, improved the turnaround time of results of CWD by using a combination of ELISA test (for large-scale hunter harvest surveillance) and Immunohistochemistry (for “special permit surveillance” from IDNR and “suspect deer surveillance”).

 

Read the whole story at the Outdoor Illinois Wildlife Journal, here.

One Female Deer Can Have Multiple Fetuses, How Many and Why Should We Care?

By Yi-Ying Tung, Nelda A. Rivera, Kelsey Martin, Evan London, Nohra Mateus-Pinilla [PDF]

 

Deer at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site near Collinsville, IL. Pictures provided by Brian L. Stauffer.

 

In 2015, around 6 million deer were harvested during the US’s legal hunting season, which is the same number as the total estimated deer population in the US and Canada combined in 1948 (Barlett 1949; QDMA, 2017). With the increasing white-tailed deer population in the Midwest region, carrying capacity—the resource availability to sustain a species population without causing environmental degradation of the land—is critical to the deer health. As it turns out, female pregnancy rates and reproductive characteristics are associated with the number of resources in the habitat available to the white-tailed deer population (Roseberry and Woolf, 1998).

The study, Reproductive Characteristics of Female White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the Midwestern USA (Green et al. 2017), helps us understand the tight and complicated relationships between female white-tailed deer and their fetuses. The evide

Continue reading “One Female Deer Can Have Multiple Fetuses, How Many and Why Should We Care?”

IDNR Announces Closure of CWD Check Stations for 2020 Firearm Deer Season

SPRINGFIELD, IL – In response to rising positivity rates of COVID-19 and in an effort to help ensure the health and safety of Illinois hunters and Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) staff, the IDNR today announced the closure of all Deer Check Stations during the upcoming firearm deer hunting seasons, slated for Nov. 20-22 and Dec. 3-6, 2020. For more information please visit the IDNR website, here.

“Deer hunters, statewide, are encouraged to allow samples to be taken for chronic wasting disease (CWD) sampling from adult deer they harvest.”

 

CWD SAMPLING VENDORS: The following locations are serving as CWD sampling stations, taking samples from entire deer or deer heads from October 1, 2020 thru Jan. 17, 2021 [CWD Sampling Vendors]

CWD HEAD DROP-OFF STATIONS: The following sites are serving as self-serve drop-off sites where hunters can fill out a sample submission card and leave adult deer heads [CWD Head Drop-off stations]

 

Here is a complete list of CWD Sampling Locations.

For more information about the Hunt Illinois program, visit the website here.

Test results will be posted by hunter phone number on the IDNR website at: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/programs/CWD/Pages/TestResults.aspx

A Genetic Key to CWD Management?

By Jacob E. Wessels, Nelda A. Rivera, Adam Brandt, Yasuko Ishida, Alfred Roca, Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, Jan Novakofski.

“They found that some regions of Illinois had somewhat higher proportions of genetically protected deer. This genetic advantage does not ensure that a deer is entirely resistant to CWD. Still, the two types of protective DNA sequences could elicit a high level of protection, suggesting that specific areas may see a lower prevalence of CWD in the population due to this genetic advantage.”

Differences in genetic vulnerability to CWD have been studied in multiple deer populations, such as the endangered Florida Key deer (Odocoileus virginianus clavium) and the threatened Columbian white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus leucurus). Perrin-Stowe and collaborators (2020) found that “Key deer may be less genetically susceptible to CWD” when compared to Columbian white-tailed deer and other mainland white-tailed deer populations. Photo by Marc Averette. Male deer in the Florida Keys.

CHAMPAIGN, IL – When talking about infectious diseases, are there advantages or disadvantages associated with our genes? And how does this translate to prion diseases? In this article, the authors describe how by examining the Prion protein gen, researchers have been able to identify protective DNA sequences, with potential genetic advantage to CWD in some populations of Illinois white-tailed deer.

Read the whole story at the Outdoor Illinois Wildlife Journal, here.

The Damaging Effect of Feeding Wildlife

By Kelsey Martin, Dr. Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, Dr. Jan Novakofski and Dr. Nelda A. Rivera

“It may be tempting to feed deer, especially in the winter, when you think it is more difficult for a deer to find food, but a deer’s digestion and metabolism become well adapted to the food naturally available to them. Occasionally feeding deer foods that they are not used to can change their metabolism, making it harder to process their natural food and causing them to burn essential fat faster. It can actually lead to starvation instead of helping.”

A photo of a large pile of corn cobs scattered all over the ground near a woodland. In the background is a dark green pickup truck parked along side a gravel road.
A corn bait pile for attracting deer and wildlife. Photo courtesy of Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

CHAMPAIGN, IL – From infectious diseases transmitted among animals (and that could in some cases affect humans), to changes in natural behavior that may cause fatal accidents;  there are multiple reasons why not to feed wildlife.  If you care for them, you will be interested in reading the article entitled “The Damaging Effect of Feeding Wildlife”. In this article, the authors used deer as an example of the negative effect of the humans that feed them.

Read the whole story at the Outdoor Illinois Wildlife Journal, here.

Zombie deer in Illinois: Fact vs. Fiction | By Shannon Callahan

“Myths surrounding chronic wasting disease (CWD) abound among wildlife enthusiasts and in misinformed corners of the internet. If you believe the headlines, these so-called “zombie deer” are poised to take over. This article dispels rumors and gives you the need-to-know facts about what CWD is and how you can help manage it.”

Picture by Michael Jeffords

“The most valuable management tool the state has is our
hunters’ collaboration. Hunters contribute to the identification of
infected areas, removal of deer in these areas, and to decreasing the
deer population density on a scale and with a disease-management
focus that is not otherwise possible with large carnivores alone.”

Zombie Deer in Illinois – Shannon Callahan [pdf]

This article originally appeared in the Illinois Audubon Society’s quarterly magazine, available to members through annual membership. See illinoisaudubon.org for more information.

Chronic Wasting Disease Introduction, Management and Adaptable Processes of Dynamic Disease | By Nohra Mateus-Pinilla

“Participation by landowners and hunters in Illinois’ CWD management efforts demonstrates their commitment to protect the health of the deer herd and the public’s natural resource.”

Photo by Michael R. Jeffords

CHAMPAIGN, IL – Illinois sustains a nationally recognized CWD management program based on collaborative efforts between citizens and wildlife professionals. This integrated approach facilitates adaptable processes to control CWD while benefiting the hunting community and citizens of Illinois. The commitment to management and control of CWD should be sustained in order to allow scientific knowledge to advance and continue to develop additional strategies to manage this disease.”

Read the whole story at the Outdoor Illinois Wildlife Journal, here.

Environmental Almanac: Supplemental feeding of deer a bad idea | By Rob Kanter

“If you struggle with the perception that, as a state, we too seldom get things right in Illinois, let me call your attention to the success we’ve had in managing a life-and-death wildlife issue that’s causing far more trouble in neighboring states, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).”

BILL MARCHEL • SPECIAL TO THE STAR TRIBUNE

” I’d like to be able to end this column right here, as a feel-good story, but unfortunately, I can’t. That’s because the Illinois Legislature is currently considering a bill (SB2493) that would undermine IDNR’s success managing CWD by creating conditions that would promote the transmission of diseases among wild deer.”

Read the whole story at The News-Gazette, here.

More news about deer feeding (Star Tribune) here.

 

Soil characteristics may be related to chronic wasting disease persistence, study finds.

Relative influence of soil characteristics on the persistent presence of CWD. The relative influence is a scaled value that describes the contribution of each of soil characteristic to the prediction of the persistent presence of CWD based on the number of times a variable is used as a predictor in the model weighted by the improvement in model fit due to inclusion; see methods (Dorak et al. 2017).

 

CHAMPAIGN, IL – In the study, the team looked at the relationship between soil characteristics and presence of deer with the disease in five northern Illinois counties where infected deer are prevalent. They focused on seven physical and chemical properties of soil that could affect the ability for a prion to stick around in the environment.

Read the whole story at the ACES College News here.