Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was first documented in Illinois in November 2002; by June 2008, the total number of reported cases of CWD in Illinois was 227. The spread of disease from 5 counties in 2002-2003 (Boone, DeKalb, McHenry, Ogle and Winnebago) to include (LaSalle and Stephenson by 2008), continues to raise concerns associated with the spread of disease within and across state borders.

PrPC and PrPSC structures

Credit: Kerry L. Helms, Scientific Illustrator. Public domain.

CWD continues to be identified in the northern counties of the state of Illinois.

Current scientific knowledge related to CWD transmission, spread, infectious dose and impact on wildlife populations remains limited. Scientific advances related to CWD are slow and closely related to the chronic nature of the disease, the inability to diagnose it based on clinical signs (diagnosis is post mortem), long incubation period among others.

Therefore, the effectiveness of an intervention strategy requires a long term (years) commitment. The evaluation of the effectiveness of such an intervention can only be assess if the intervention strategy has been persistent and continual (across time and space).

Champaign County deer (Photo by Jen Mui)

For addtional information on the spatial aspects of CWD see Marilyn Ruiz biosketch, College of Veterinary Medicine.

Projects on Chronic Wasting Disease

  • Stratify and characterize CWD occurrence in Illinois by habitat use, population density, age and sex distribution, deer genetic structure and CWD management areas.
  • Implementation of genetic, geographic and temporal tools to evaluate CWD occurrence and movement in Illinois.
  • Examine the relationship between prion polymorphisms and CWD disease status in free-ranging white-tailed deer.
  • Evaluation of the geographic variation of coding polymorphisms observed in Illinois and reported in Wisconsin deer 150 km to the northwest.
  • Evaluation of the impact, effectiveness of the current CWD control and management strategy in Illinois.