Chronic wasting disease meetings set for Dalhart, Amarillo

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Several chronic wasting disease informational meetings will be held in the Panhandle in September by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas Animal Health Commission.

These informational meetings, which will address chronic wasting disease management, new Texas Parks and Wildlife Department regulations, and proposed Texas Animal Health Commission rules, will be held in Dalhart and Amarillo.

The first meeting will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 28 in the Dallam County Courthouse, 501 Denver Ave. The second will also begin at 7 p.m. and will be Sept. 29 at the Amarillo Public Library Downtown Branch, 413 E 4th Ave. Both are free and open to the public.

“These meetings are needed in the Panhandle because new regulations require the testing of harvested deer for chronic wasting disease in most of the northwest Panhandle counties,” said John Tomecek, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist in San Angelo.

Tomecek said these meetings were spurred by a single mule deer harvested in 2015 in Hartley County that was positive for chronic wasting disease, a fatal condition that affects the nervous system in white-tailed deer, mule deer, red deer, elk and moose.

This was the first detection in the Panhandle of Texas, he said.

Chronic wasting disease is one in a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, such as scrapie in domestic sheep and goats, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle.

The disease cannot be transmitted to humans or livestock, Tomecek said. It is caused by a type of misfolded protein, which causes host animals to replicate the misfolded protein. Prions interrupt and degrade nerve cells and ultimately eliminate basic nervous system functions, leading to death.

For more information concerning these meetings, contact James Hoskins, Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist in Amarillo, at 806-355-7293 or james.hoskins@tpwd.texas.gov.

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