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Status of CWD

No new Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) cases have been identified in New York since 2005.

CWD Timeline in New York

Below are details on the initiation of DEC's CWD surveillance program, information on the first case of CWD in New York, and actions taken by DEC to minimize its spread.

2002

  • New York initiated a statewide CWD surveillance program in response to the first detection of the disease in eastern states of North America (Wisconsin).

2003

  • DEC initiated Part 189: Chronic Wasting Disease regulations to reduce the risk of bringing the disease into New York and to minimize its spread if it was detected in our state.

2005

  • First case of CWD in New York: In early April, the first case of CWD was confirmed in five white-tailed deer from two captive breeding facilities in Oneida County.
  • After detection, a containment area was imposed around the infected area in Madison and Oneida counties (Wildlife Management Unit 6P), with a mandatory deer check for harvested deer. Other activities were prohibited, including movement of intact carcasses outside the containment area, possession and use of deer or elk urine taken from the containment area, deer rehabilitation, possession of a deer killed by a motor vehicle, and requirements for taxidermist record-keeping and contact barriers with live cervids.
  • In addition to amending the CWD regulation (Part 189) for the containment area, the regulation also prohibited importation of whole hunter-harvested carcasses from states where CWD had been detected. It also provided DEC with options to better address threats posed by CWD to New York's wild white-tailed deer.
  • An intensive monitoring program was established by DEC to sample deer in the infected area. Monitoring efforts for the month of April resulted in testing 290 deer samples from Oneida County, 2 from Madison County, and 25 from Hamilton County.
  • In late April, two wild white-tailed deer were confirmed to have CWD within the infected area.

2009

  • Mandatory testing of deer from the Oneida/Madison county containment area ended, with routine testing to continue statewide.

2010

  • More than 31,000 wild white-tailed deer were tested statewide from 2002 through 2010.
  • In July, the Oneida/Madison containment area was lifted as no new cases of CWD were detected, but additional sample collection continued for the area.

2011

  • Increased effort by DEC field staff to collect sick deer and deer behaving abnormally from public reports. Sick and abnormal deer are the highest suspects for CWD.
  • More than 1,800 hunter-harvested deer tested negative for CWD during statewide surveillance.

2012

  • Risk-based surveillance survey initiated to determine possible routes of CWD entry into New York and exposure to wild deer.
  • First case of CWD in Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania reported their first CWD-positive deer in a captive farm in Adams County. Three wild deer were also reported CWD-positive from Blair and Bedford counties. Emergency New York regulations prohibited whole carcasses taken in Pennsylvania from being brought into New York.
  • More than 1,500 hunter-harvested deer tested negative for CWD during statewide surveillance.

2013

  • Implemented a statewide weighted surveillance system to increase the number of older age-class deer sampled. Increased sampling in counties that have higher deer densities with potential risk-factors (i.e. counties bordering Pennsylvania).
  • Developed pilot program (the Taxidermy Partnership Program) to partner with taxidermists to collect samples from older age bucks.
  • Educational campaign to stakeholders and the public on the current CWD science, including the presence of prions in urine, the persistence of prions in soil leading to long-term environmental contamination, and measures they can take to keep CWD out of New York.
  • More than 2,500 hunter-harvested deer tested negative for CWD during statewide surveillance.

2014

  • First case of CWD discovered in Ohio: on October 23, 2014, Ohio reported its first case of CWD. It was diagnosed in a deer at a captive facility in Holmes county. Emergency New York regulations prohibited whole carcasses taken in Ohio from being brought into New York.
  • More than 2,300 hunter-harvested deer tested negative for CWD during statewide surveillance.
  • The Taxidermy Partnership Program was very successful, with 15 cooperators collecting 381 samples from older age-class bucks.

2015

  • Michigan discovered a CWD-positive white-tailed deer in Ingham County. This deer was in the advanced stages of CWD-infection as it was emaciated and behaving abnormally. Michigan was already on the list of prohibited states for whole-carcass imports because of the previous case of CWD found in a Kent County captive facility in 2008.
  • Arkansas found a CWD-positive 2.5 year old hunter-harvested elk near Pruitt. Subsequent testing has found the disease was also in white-tailed deer in several counties. Arkansas was already on the list of prohibited states for import of whole carcasses into New York.
  • In New York, annual surveillance for CWD tested 2,492 white-tailed deer with no positives. In the past 10 years, 33,553 wild white-tailed deer have been tested for CWD.

2016

  • CWD was discovered in a free-ranging reindeer in Norway. This was the first detection of CWD in Europe and the first natural infection of a reindeer worldwide. Two additional moose have been confirmed to have CWD in Norway.
  • Minnesota found two CWD-positive white-tailed deer during their firearms season near Lanesboro in Fillmore County. They had previously found a wild CWD-positive white-tailed deer in 2011 with no subsequent detections.
  • The NYSDEC Environmental Conservation Officers have increased confiscation and ticketing of illegally imported hunter-harvested white-tailed deer. These carcasses have been brought back intact from prohibited states, such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. DEC regulations allow import from numerous states and provinces of only specific carcass parts: meat (without backbone), cleaned hide and cape, skull plate and/or antlers cleaned of all meat and brain tissue, upper canine teeth, finished taxidermy mounts, and tanned hides (see importation of hunter-killed deer, elk, or moose).

2017

  • Montana discovered CWD in seven mule deer and one white-tailed deer in Carbon (southcentral Montana near the border with Wyoming) and one mule deer in Liberty County (northcentral Montana near the border with Canada). A special hunt is ongoing until February 15, 2018 or whenever harvest quotas are reached.
  • The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Agriculture and Markets put out an Interagency CWD Risk Minimization Plan for public comment. This plan presents recommendations to reasonably minimize the risk of re-entry and spread of the disease. The goals will be accomplished through specific strategies and actions that address regulation changes, field activities, and education plans for both agencies over the next five years. The goals of the plan are to:
  • prevent new introductions;
  • prevent exposure of infectious material to wild white-tailed deer and moose in New York;
  • provide education to increase the public understanding of CWD risks and impacts.

Learn more about New York's CWD management and surveillance efforts.