Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance Program and Proactive Response Plan for Ontario, Canada

Posted on May 28, 2014

Author

Rick ROSATTE1, Tore BUCHANAN, Chris DAVIES, Kevin MIDDEL, Brent PATTERSON, Laura BRUCE, Mark GIBSON, Kim BENNETT, Andrew SILVER, Scott TAYLOR, Bev STEVENSON, Dennis DONOVAN, Chris HEYDON, Davor OJKIC, and Brian TAPSCOTT

Correspondence: Rick Rosatte, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Wildlife Research and Monitoring Section, Trent University, DNA Building, 2140 East Bank Dr., Peterborough, ON, K9J 7B8, Canada. Email: rick.rosatte@ontario.ca, rer99@nexicom.net

Submitted 19 March 2014 – Accepted 28 May 2014


Abstract

To date (May 2014), Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has not been reported in free-ranging or farmed cervids in Ontario, Canada (except in captive Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) at the Toronto Zoo during the late 1970s). However, the disease currently exists in adjacent jurisdictions including New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. An economic impact analysis suggested that CWD being detected in Ontario could result in tens of millions of Canadian dollars (CAD) in economic losses. As a result, Ontario has taken a proactive approach to detect and control any potential cases of CWD, and has implemented regulations to restrict importation of high risk cervids and cervid parts into Ontario. A proactive CWD surveillance program for free-ranging cervids was initiated in Ontario in 2002. From 2002 to 2013, 9,987 White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and 41 Elk (Cervus canadensis) have tested negative for CWD. In addition, 1,964 farmed cervids were also tested for CWD during surveillance operations from 2006 to 2013 – all were negative. Initially, Ontario was divided into 14 zones for free-ranging cervid surveillance operations. Zones were tested in rotation. However, beginning in 2011, a CWD risk model was developed and implemented annually to determine high risk areas in Ontario. As a result, White-tailed Deer are collected and tested from the highest risk areas each year as opposed to on a zone rotational basis. A proactive response plan was also developed for Ontario which can be implemented if a case(s) of CWD is reported in the province. The keys to success at controlling and/or eradicating CWD if cases are reported in Ontario will be rapid implementation of the response plan as well as ensuring landowner and hunter cooperation as the majority of land in southern Ontario is privately owned.

Key Words: Chronic Wasting Disease, Cervus canadensis, CWD, Cervids, Elk, Odocoileus virginianus, Ontario, White-tailed Deer.

 

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