Testing by the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has been concluded on 324 deer from the Western Slope that were potentially infected with chronic wasting disease.
Results were released verbally to the Division of Wildlife in Fort Collins last night, and a full, printed report will be finalized by the end of the day today.
The Division of Wildlife delivered the 324 samples to the veterinary laboratory on Saturday, April 6. Although the laboratory usually is closed for the weekend, two histology laboratory staffers, Deborah Zink and Robert Zink, worked through the weekend to process and prepare slides for each tissue sample. Under normal circumstances, three staffers handle about 200 samples per day.
Wildlife pathologist Terry Spraker evaluated each of the 324 slide samples for signs of infection, finishing the last sample late Monday evening.
"We recognize the importance of timeliness in these cases," said Barbara Powers, director of the laboratory. "It’s vitally important to work together as a team-the Department of Wildlife, the Department of Agriculture and the CSU Diagnostic Laboratory-to ensure the health and safety of our wildlife."
The test used by the Colorado State Veterinary Laboratory to determine the presence or absence of chronic wasting disease was developed five years ago at the university in conjunction with Katharine O’Rourke at the USDA’s Animal Research Services in Pullman, Wash. The same test was used for the recent elk depopulation in Colorado this past February.
It is now the definitive test being used by all laboratories throughout North America, including the USDA laboratory at Ames, Iowa.
Questions regarding the results of the testing should be directed to the Colorado Division of Wildlife at (970) 484-2836.
For more information about the immunohistochemical test developed and used by the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, contact Karen Wheeler at (970) 491-6435 to arrange for interviews with laboratory personnel.