Helping to combat chronic wasting disease

Fact Sheet 2004-3008
By:  and 



Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a disease of the nervous system that results in distinctive lesions in the brain. CWD affects elk, white-tailed deer, and mule deer, but has not been documented in livestock or humans. The cause is unknown and no treatment is available. Infected deer and elk can appear robust and healthy in the early stages of CWD; it may take several years before they show clinical signs, after which the disease is fatal. Direct contact between infected and non-infected animals is the most likely route of transmission, but other possibilities are under consideration, including contamination of soil by excreta from infected animals.

USGS is collaborating with federal, state, and private partners to address CWD issues. These joint efforts have addressed immediate needs – developing cooordinated plans, establishing diagnostic capabilities to identify the disease, modeling and analyzing effects of the disease, and Preparing to sample lymph nodes for CWD testing at the Park Falls, Wisconsin, sampling site. Photo courtesy of Harold Rihn, Jr., USGS. providing easily accessible information to cooperators and the public – but much still needs to be done. New initiatives, based on the plans already developed, will seek to refine our information about the disease and identify effective management strategies for CWD control and eradication.

Suggested Citation

Wright, Scott, Slota, Paul, 2003, Helping to combat chronic wasting disease: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2004–3008, 2 p.,

ISSN: 2327-6932 (online)

Table of Contents

  • National Planning and Surveillance Workshop
  • Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Collaboration
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Partnership
  • Department of Interior and State Activities
  • Information Products
  • New Initiatives and Future Direction
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Helping to combat chronic wasting disease
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 2004-3008
DOI 10.3133/fs20043008
Year Published 2003
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) National Wildlife Health Center
Description 2 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details