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Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M.
Campbell today announced that the recent discovery of Chronic Wasting
Disease (CWD) in deer from captive herds in New York does not pose an
immediate threat to the deer herd in New Jersey. To date, there is no
evidence that any deer originated from or were transported to New
Jersey.

"Extensive testing of over 1,900 New Jersey deer since 1998 has failed
to detect the presence of CWD in our wild deer herd," said DEP
Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "It is critical that we continue to
monitor the health of our deer herd and make sure that the
precautionary
ban on the importation of deer and elk put in place on April 15, 2002
is
strictly enforced."

In 2002, in order to reduce the risk of chronic wasting disease
entering New Jersey, DEP imposed an emergency ban on the importation
of
deer and elk into the State. The DEP, state Department of Agriculture
and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are working to prevent the
spread
of CWD, and will respond quickly to contain and eradicate CWD should
it
be found within the state.

"It is important to note that the CWD infected deer in New York were
deer from captive herds and that New Jersey will continue to monitor
and
evaluate the operations for captive deer in our state," said DEP Fish
and Wildlife Director Martin J. McHugh. "The extensive testing of
wild
deer herds in the tri-state area has failed to detect the disease in
wild deer. Ongoing testing consistently shows no evidence of the
disease in our state."

In February 2002, a private deer herder with preserves in South
Hardyston and Sparta in Sussex County illegally imported wild deer
from
Wisconsin, where CWD had been diagnosed in captive and free ranging
deer. In response, DEP ordered the quarantine of all deer, elk and
sheep on the two hunting preserves. DEP coordinated the testing of
the
imported deer as well as fifty-one hunter-killed deer in the
surrounding
communities of White Township in Warren County and Franklin and
Hardyston townships in Sussex County. All the deer tested negative
for
CWD.

Scientists believe that CWD is caused by an abnormally shaped,
infectious protein called a prion. CWD causes damage to the brain and
central nervous system of mule deer, rocky mountain elk and
white-tailed
deer. Symptoms include loss of body condition and altered behavior;
however, the disease can only be effectively diagnosed through
examination of a portion of the brain.

Chronic wasting disease has been diagnosed in captive elk or deer in
nine states including Colorado, Montana, Kansas, Oklahoma, South
Dakota,
Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota, New York and in the Canadian province
of Saskatchewan. It has been confirmed in wild deer in Colorado,
Wyoming,
Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and New Mexico.

CWD causes weight loss and is always fatal. To date, it has been only
found in members of the deer family. There is no evidence that CWD is
linked to disease in humans or domestic livestock other than deer and
elk.
 
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