Program Guidelines for Nebraska Chronic Wasting Disease - Cervid Monitoring Program


Part 1 - Definitions

Affected Herd: Any herd in which an animal has been determined to be CWD positive.

Animal: Any domesticated mule deer, white-tailed deer, or elk.

Commingling: Animals grouped together having physical contact, e.g., sharing common pastures. Commingling does not include limited contacts, such as contact at auction/sales or during transportation as long as animals are in separate compartments.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD): A non-febrile, transmissible, insidious, degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of deer and elk. CWD, a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, may cause, but is not limited to, the following signs in affected animals:

  • weight loss, poor condition
  • salivating, drooling
  • behavioral abnormalities
  • abnormalities such as incoordination
  • swaying of back end, weakness
  • recumbency

It is important to note that not all CWD-affected animals show all clinical signs.

CWD-Positive Animal: An animal which has had a diagnosis of CWD confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL), United States Department of Agriculture, Ames, Iowak, or any additional laboratory approved approved by NVSL.

CWD Suspect: An animal which displays clinical signs suggestive of CWD, or for which laboratory analysis is not conclusive.

Department: The Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

Enrolled Herd: A herd participating in the Program which has met the requirements listed in Part 2 of these Guidelines.

Enrollment Date: The date on which the Department approved the application, or the date the Department can verify that the requirements listed in Part 2 of these guidelines have been met.

Herd Status: Classification of a herd with regard to CWD in the Nebraska CWD Cervid Herd Monitoring Program.

Herd: Any group of animals maintained on common ground for any purpose, or two or more groups of animals under common ownership or supervision, geographically separated but which have an interchange of animals without regard to whether the animals are infected or exposed.

Owner: An individual, partnership, company, corporation, or other legal entity which has legal or rightful title to an animal or animals, regardless of any liens held on the animal(s).

Premises: The ground, area, buildings, and equipment occupied by one or more herds of animals.

Program: The Nebraska Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Cervid Herd Monitoring Program.

Trace-Back Herd: A herd(s) where an affected animal has resided up to 36 months prior to death.

Trace-Forward Herd: A herd(s) which has received animals from an affected herd within 36 months prior to the death of an affected animal.

Part 2 - Requirements for entry into the Program

  • Applicant must have a Domesticated Cervine Animal Facility Permit and a herd identification number and be in compliance with Domesticated Cervine Animal Act and Domesticated Cervine Animal Regulations.

  • There must be no indication of CWD in the herd in the past 12 months, as attested to by the owner and his veterinarian or area veterinarian.

  • Program application form must be completed, signed and submitted to the Department.

Part 3 - Program Protocol

A. General Provisions

The herd owner or manager who participates in the Program shall agree to do the following:
  1. Identify all animals 12 months of age or over within the herd, as provided for in Title 23 Chapter 16, Domesticated Cervine Animal Regulations, Section 006.

  2. Report all death losses of animals over 12 months of age that die from any cause and ensure that proper tissue samples are collected and submitted for diagnostic purposes as provided for in Title 23, Chapter 16, Domesticated Cervine Animal Regulations, Section 014.

  3. Report to the Department any animals that escape from the herd enclosure, as provided for in section Title 23, Chapter 16, Domesticated Cervine Animal Regulations, Section 010.

  4. Maintain a current herd inventory report which shall include the following records on animals present in the herd:

    1. Official and visible identification numbers.
    2. Sex, breed and age.
    3. Disposition of animals - date and reason for removal from the herd.
    4. Primary and secondary identification numbers and sex and birth dates of progeny.
    5. Date of birth and date of entry for acquired animals, as well as herd of origin.
    6. Copies of laboratory reports of CWD submissions.
    7. These records will be kept on each animal for five years after removal
    8. from the herd for any reason.

  5. Make all animals and records available as provided for in Title 23, Chapter 16, Domesticated Cervine Animal Regulations, Section 13.
B. Inspections
Inspections of CWD Monitored Herds and their inventory records will be done as provided for in Title 23, Chapter 16, Domesticated Cervine Animal Regulations, Section 004.
C. Program Status
A herd will gain program status based on the herd's enrollment date and the continuous number of years in the program. Once a herd is approved to participate in the program, the herd will be considered an enrolled herd with the date of approval being the enrollment date. The status will be dependent on the herd being in compliance with the Program Guidelines and being approved annually for advancement in the program.
  1. Non-Participant refers to any herd which is not enrolled in the Program.

  2. Enrolled herd refers to any herd that has been approved to participate in the Program. Program Classification will be as follows:

    1. Year 0 - herd is enrolled in the program, but has not completed one year of herd surveillance.
    2. Year 1 - one year of surveillance and successful completion of program requirements.
    3. Year 2 - two years of surveillance and successful completion of program requirements.
    4. Years 3, 4, 5, etc. - for each successive year of surveillance.
D. Management of CWD Affected or Exposed Herds
  1. Affected Herd - If an enrolled herd has a confirmed diagnosis of CWD, the Department will issue a quarantine and the herd will be removed from the Monitored CWD Cervid Herd Status Program.

  2. Trace-back or Trace-forward Herd - If an epidemiologic investigation reveals an enrolled herd to be a Trace-back or Trace-forward herd, the Department may issue a hold order, quarantine, or suspend the CWD monitoring program status, and will develop a herd plan based on the epidemiological investigation.
E. Acquisitions and Commingling
  1. Enrolled herds may acquire animals from another enrolled herd with the same or higher management level. Such animals will assume the level of the receiving herd. If the animal(s) is received from a herd with a lower management level, the receiving herd will maintain its management level, but the imported animal(s) will retain the level of the herd of origin. (The herd status would reflect both levels.)

  2. When establishing a new herd entirely from an enrolled herd, the herd of origin's status level will transfer to the new herd if the new herd owner notifies the Department and submits an application for participation in the program within 90 days of the animals arrival on the farm and before any herd additions. Applications received more than 90 days after arrival will be reviewed by the Department. The enrollment date of the new herd will be the date of the approval by the Department.
F. Use of Semen and Embryos
Enrolled herds may not use germ plasm from any donor found to be CWD positive. Enrolled herds may use semen from lower status or non-participating herds with no effect on program status as long as the semen is not from infected herds or trace herds at the time of collection. Embryo recipient animals must meet the programs requirements for animal acquisitions.
G. Animals Imported From Foreign Countries
Imported animals from foreign countries may enter the program at the appropriate level if they have an equivalent certification program, or are recognized free of CWD by APHIS standards. If animals at any time commingle with animals of a lower program status before entering the recipient herd, they will enter at the lowest status of the commingled herds.
Part 4 - Herd Information

The Department will maintain an information database that will include all enrolled herds and their respective herd status levels.

Interested parties may access this information during working hours by telephone, 402-471-2351. The following information will be made available to the public on herds participating in the program: Name, address, enrollment date and herd status level.

Part 5 - Laboratory Submission of Samples

All tissues submitted for CWD diagnostic testing shall be submitted to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL), United States Department of Agriculture, Ames, Iowa, and additional laboratories approved by NVSL.