|AUSTIN, (TAHC) – The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) recently amended Chapter 40, “Chronic Wasting Disease”, by adopting a new rule entitled, “CWD Movement Restriction Zone”. The rule affects certain cervid species and delineates movement restriction zones and other necessary disease management practices related to the control of CWD in far west Texas.
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been discovered in mule deer in the Hueco Mountains of southern New Mexico and western Texas. Samples from two mule deer recently taken in this area were confirmed positive for CWD. These are the first cases of CWD detected in Texas deer.
What is CWD?
CWD is not known to affect people, but a number of cervid species are susceptible. Besides mule deer, other susceptible species include white-tailed deer, elk, red deer, Sika deer and moose. The progressively fatal disease is most commonly exhibited by chronic weight loss and abnormal behavior such as disorientation. Prions are the infectious agent of CWD and can be found throughout the body of an infected animal. The prions are present in the body fluids of infected animals and can be shed onto the soil where they may remain infectious to other susceptible animals for many years. For this reason, the TAHC rules apply to land as well as animals within the zones.
What is the Rule?
The rule is intended to define susceptible species, establish boundaries for a High Risk Zone (HRZ) and Containment Zone (CZ), restrict movement within the zones, establish surveillance systems within the zones, and also address requirements for new or existing herds’ ability to gain CWD monitored status designations by TAHC. Counties affected by the rule include El Paso, and portions of Hudspeth, Culberson, Reeves, Ward and Loving.
- Restricted movement within the zones: No susceptible cervid species may be trapped and transported from within either zone to another location. No susceptible species may be introduced into a herd within the HRZ or the CZ that does not participate in the TAHC Monitored Herd Program. No susceptible species may leave a herd within either zone until it has achieved Level C status of five years or higher.
- Establishing surveillance within the zones: No part of a carcass of a susceptible species (killed or found dead), within the HRZ or CZ may be removed unless a testable CWD sample from the carcass is collected by or provided to the TAHC or TPWD (excluding bones with no tissue attached).
- CWD Monitored Herd Status designations within the zones:
- Monitored herds already in the zones may keep their existing status if they continue to meet program requirements
- Susceptible species moved into newly established facilities in either zone will have their status reset to zero
Where/What is the Containment Zone (CZ)?
The Containment Zone (CZ) is the geographic area where there is a high risk of CWD existing. The CZ is defined as follows; beginning in Culberson County where State Highway 62-180 enters from New Mexico and thence in a southwesterly direction to the intersection with State Highway 54 and thence following that in a southwesterly direction to the intersection with IH 20 and thence following it in a westerly direction until Ft. Hancock to State Highway 20 and thence following it a westerly direction to Farm Road 1088 (east of Ft. Hancock), and thence following it in a southerly direction to the Rio Grande River to where it enters the state of New Mexico.
Where/What is the High Risk Zone (HRZ)?
The High Risk Zone (HRZ) is an area which serves as a buffer (surveillance) zone between the Containment Zone and the rest of Texas. The HRZ is defined as follows: beginning in Reeves County where the Pecos River enters from New Mexico and meanders in a southeasterly direction as the boundary between Reeves County and Loving and Ward Counties to the intersection with IH 20 and thence following it in a westerly direction until the intersection with State Highway 54 and thence following it in a northwesterly direction until the intersection with State Highway 62-180 and thence in a northeasterly direction to the border with the state of New Mexico and Culberson County.
Who do I call for more information?
For more information visit www.tahc.state.tx.us or call 1-800-550-8242