ODFW, OSU partner to test for chronic wasting disease in deer


Jacob Fischer

Magruder hall photographed on Nov. 2nd. Oregon State University’s veterinary laboratory is located in Magruder Hall.

Oregon State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have received a grant to enable testing of deer for chronic wasting disease in Oregon.

According to a press release, the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine and the ODFW received the one-year grant so that samples will no longer need to be sent to laboratories out of state, which can lead to significant wait times for results.

“We’re going to have to acquire the equipment and the expertise to test for these prions,” said Kurt Williams, director of the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, in a press release. “It’s going to be a challenge for us, but that’s what we’re here for.”

Chronic wasting disease has not yet been found in Oregon, but since the disease is already present in Idaho, state wildlife officials say it’s only a matter of time.

The disease, caused by prions, a type of infectious protein, affects deer, elk and moose. Chronic wasting disease is always fatal in infected animals and there is no vaccine. Animals with the disease lose the ability to eat, and waste away before dying.

There is no evidence that the disease affects humans or livestock, according to Williams.

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