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.

Undergrads choose their own adventure in this wildlife research group | By Diana Yates

The CWD research group is directed by Dr. Nohra Mateus-Pinilla and Dr. Jan E. Novakofski. Undergraduate students from left, Yi-Ying Tung, Shannon Callahan, Jake Putty, Kaylie Dyer and Spencer Stirewalt, with IDNR biologist Jared Duquette. Photo courtesy of Jared Duquette.


CHAMPAIGN, IL – Don’t be fooled by the name: The wildlife and chronic wasting disease research group has a broader mission than you might think. Yes, the research focuses on white-tailed deer, primarily, and on CWD, a baffliing affliction of deer and elk. But for the dozens of undergraduate students who have joined this collaborative effort over the years, the group also is a portal, of sorts, to wide-ranging adventures in research.

Read the whole story by the University of Illinois News Bureau here.

Chronic wasting disease in Illinois: resources and disease dynamics | By Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, Michelle L. Green and Jan Novakofski.

Deer with Chronic Wasting Disease. Photograph by Wisconsin DNR and CWD Alliance.


CHAMPAIGN, IL – We know that CWD is a lethal wasting disease. Death follows a period of weight loss and a debilitating progressive set of clinical signs that include an inability to swallow, excessive salivation, tremors, and increased drinking, urination, and weakness. Protecting the deer herd from this disease has economical value to the State of Illinois, recreational value to deer hunters, and a health value for CWD-susceptible animals.

Read the whole story

Expanding The Reach Of Animal Science: Reproduction In White-Tailed Deer | UI News Bureau
The CWD research team: Jan Novakofski, Nohra Mateus-Pinilla and Michelle Green. Photo by: L. Brian Stauffer

CHAMPAIGN, IL – In an effort to better understand the transmission dynamics of chronic wasting disease and the long-term health of the white-tailed deer herd in Illinois, the group recently investigated the trends in reproduction among females. The team has extraordinary access to samples through the state of Illinois Department of Natural Resources that annually collects fetuses from culled deer from January through March, a prime time for females to be pregnant.

Read the whole story at the “Tails” of Animal Sciences newsletter (March 2017, page 4).

Editorial calls on Wisconsin to follow Illinois’ strategy regarding CWD
Areas in Illinois and Wisconsin with chronic wasting disease detected over fiscal year 2003–2012. Orange areas are counties in Illinois and red areas are Wisconsin deer management units that were included in prevalence calculations. (Manjerovic et al. 2013).

CHAMPAIGN, IL – Research findings by INHS Wildlife Epidemiologists Mary Beth Manjerovic, Michelle L. Greena, Nohra Mateus-Pinilla and University of Illinois colleague Jan Novakofski were referenced in an editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Their research, found that after Wisconsin discontinued culling deer populations with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), the prevalence of CWD in Wisconsin had an average annual increase of 0.63%. During that same time period, Illinois continued government culling and there was no change in prevalence throughout Illinois.

Read the whole story at the Illinois Natural History Survey blog.

Record levels of banned insecticide found in Illinois otters | By Eric Freedman


The study published in the journal “Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety” found high concentrations of chemical compounds in the livers of 23 otters in central Illinois.

“Thus otters serve as biomonitors — organisms that contain information on the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the environment — of wildlife exposure,” according to a new study. They also serve as biomonitors for human health because the same toxic chemicals found in otters have also been found in people who eat contaminated fish.

Estimated use of dieldrin. Graphic: Samantha Carpenter, Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

“there are specific watersheds that are areas of concern — not only for otters — for any of the wildlife species that are living in those places, especially those at the top of the food chain.”


Read the whole story at Great Lakes Echo, here.

Targeted culling of deer controls disease with little effect on hunting | By Diana Yates

A new study found that the targeted culling of deer prevents the rampant spread of chronic wasting disease to healthy deer. Photo by L. Brian Stauffer.
A new study found that the targeted culling of deer prevents the rampant spread of chronic wasting disease to healthy deer. Photo by L. Brian Stauffer.

CHAMPAIGN, IL. – Chronic wasting disease, the deer-equivalent of mad cow disease, has crept across the U.S. landscape from west to east. It appeared first in captive mule deer in Colorado in the late 1960s. By 1981, it had escaped to the wild. It reached the Midwest by 2002. Little is known about its potential to infect humans.

Read the whole story by the University of Illinois News Bureau here.

Illinois river otters still exposed to chemicals banned decades ago | By Diana Yates

from left – Samantha Carpenter, wildlife technical assistant; Kuldeep Singh, Clinical Assistant Professor, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Clinical Assistant Professor, Pathobiology ; Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, Wildlife Veterinary Epidemiologist INHS ; and Jan Novakofski, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research for Compliance, Professor of Animal Sciences, Professor of Nutritional Sciences. Photo by L. Brian Stauffer.


CHAMPAIGN, IL. – Researchers report that river otters in Central Illinois are being exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and pesticides that were banned in the U.S. in the 1970s and ’80s.

Read the whole story by the University of Illinois News Bureau here.

Adaptability of deer ticks back in the limelight

INHS Wildlife Veterinary Epidemiologist Nohra Mateus-Pinilla and her research on lyme diseasevectors were featured in an article in the Danville Commercial News and also discussed in a segment on Chicago Tonight about Science in Illinois.  Deer ticks have been spreading and are now found in 26 Illinois counties.


CHAMPAIGN, IL – Mateus-Pinilla’s study at Allerton park showed high numbers of infected individuals in prairie habitats, rather than the typical forest habitat.  Based on the study, it appears that Lyme disease and deer ticks may be more adaptable than previously known.  With regards to the lack of studies on ticks and lyme disease, Mateus-Pinilla said, “There are a lot of unknowns.  It seems like we have very little work on the ground being done.”

Read the whole story at the Illinois Natural History Survey blog.