U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

October 2004


National Wildlife Research Center Scientists Assess the Potential for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Transmission Between Wild and Domestic Cervids and Develop Methods to Reduce/Manage the Disease

Wildlife Services’ (WS) National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) is the only Federal research organization devoted exclusively to resolving conflicts between people and wildlife through the development of effective, selective, and acceptable methods, tools, and techniques. As increased urbanization leads to a loss of traditional wildlife habitat, the potential for conflicts between people and wildlife increases. Such conflicts can take many forms, but recently the potential for the transmission of diseases among wildlife, livestock, and humans has received greater attention. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological disease that infects captive and wild cervids, including deer and elk. CWD is arguably the most important management issue for wild cervids because it has the potential to reduce populations long-term and have major socio-economic impacts. North American cervids susceptible to CWD include white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), and elk (Cervus elaphus).