Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences

Chronic Wasting Disease Timeline of Events

Chronic Wasting Disease Timeline of Events 
June 11, 2019 - CVM sends out a press release about new CWD State funding
The CVM press release outlines funding, goals of CWD research team, as well as details about tools and resources needed to put this plan into action. To read the full press release, please visit the CVM website.
May 31, 2019 - Governor Tim Walz Signs Omnibus Environmental and Natural Resources funding bill
The Omnibus Environment and Natural Resources funding bill included a $1,804,000 appropriation to develop an advanced CWD diagnostic. The bill was passed by both the House and Senate during the Special Session and signed by Governor Tim Walz. Source
May 25, 2019 - MN Legislature Reports that Environmental funding bill awaits action by Governor Tim Walz
"Environment-related appropriations from the General Fund and the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund are a signature away from becoming law.Sponsored by Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul) and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria), the omnibus environment and natural resources finance bill was approved 84-43 by the House and 61-5 by the Senate Friday. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Tim Walz." This bill "outlines how $64.47 million from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund is to be spent, mostly on projects Fiscal Year 2020, with the exception of three projects that will receive $2.94 million in Fiscal Year 2019. The largest of those 2019 appropriations is $1.8 million for development of a diagnostic test for chronic wasting disease." Source
April 18, 2019 - Drs. Peter Larsen and Pam Skinner meet with MN Congresswoman Betty McCollum
Professors Peter Larsen and Pamela Skinner met with Minnesota State Congresswoman Betty McCollum to discuss diagnosing and possible treatment  of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) with Jim Reilly-Director of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), along with other USGS leaders and other U of M representatives at the MN State Capitol.
March 19, 2019 - Channel 5, ABC News reports on new University of Minnesota CWD program
The University of Minnesota announced a new program focused on Chronic Wasting Disease. Channel 5, ABC News reported on CWD and this new program announcing that the focus will be on working with national leadership to identify policy, prevention, research, educating the public, promoting reliable and rapid CWD detection tests on animals affected, and outreach issues associated with the disease. 
March 5, 2019 - Dr. Peter Larsen addresses MN State Senate
Dr. Peter Larsen addressed the Minnesota State Senate about the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease.
February 22, 2019 - Drs. Peter Larsen and Pam Skinner submit Reader Opinion piece for Brainerd Dispatch
The article, "Reader Opinion: U of M ready to develop faster CWD test," in the Brainerd Dispatch illustrates the restraints with current Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) testing. "Current CWD diagnostic tests are time consuming, expensive, and typically require the animal to be killed." The University of Minnesota team, which include Drs. Larsen and Skinner, is committed to developing a test that is more efficient, easier to use, and can rapidly scren live animals or environmental samples for CWD." The need for real-time data is growing ever more prevalent as the disease continues to spread. Drs. Larsen and Skinner hope to gain the states support for funding of these new tests.
February 22, 2019 - Dr. Peter Larsen Quoted in WND Weekly Magazine
The Exclusive, "No Joke! 'Zombie Deer Disease' Threat to Humans," in WND Weekly Magazine explains how 24 US states have been hit with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which is may not only be contracted directly but can be passed on through plants and soil as well. To make matters worse, the CWD prions can live for years and perhaps even decades. Scientists fear this disease could cross over species. Dr. Peter Larsen discusses how the disease has spread in wild and captive deer populations due to deer being transported around the country and overseas to hunting ranches, petting zoos, and Christmas-themed farms.
February 21, 2019 - Dr. Peter Larsen Speaks to Vox News
The write-up, "Zombie deer disease," a mad cow-like infection spreading in the US, explained," written by Julie Belluz, reporter with Vox news, discusses the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which is an illness spread in deer, elk, and moose by prions, zombie-like pathogens that aren't alive and can not be killed. Dr. Peter Larsen explains, “It is important to remember that [this] is a neurodegenerative disease — not a Hollywood zombie disease.” Dr. Larsen also goes on to explain how there is a need for faster and more efficient testing that is accessible to everyone.
February 10, 2019 – Dr. Peter Larsen Quoted in The Western Journal
Jack Davis, writer with The Western Journal quotes Dr. Peter Larsen in the story, “Experts Warn Fatal ‘Zombie Deer Disease’ Could Spread to Humans in ‘Substantial’ Way." The article discusses new fears that Chronic Wasting Disease, AKA  CWD and ‘Zombie Deer Disease,’ could impact humans in the near future.
February 7, 2019 - Dr. Pam Skinner Speaks to KAAL TV, ABC News, Channel 6, Rochester, MN
Dr. Pam Skinner speaks to KAAL TV ABC News, Channel 6 in Rochester, MN about the effects of Chronic Wasting Disease in the story 'Lawmakers, U of M Researchers Hope Live Tests Will Slow Spread of CWD.' In the interview, Dr. Skinner explains how this testing would allow deer to be tested at an early stage in the disease process which could help to prevent spreading of the disease as well as save money and also potentially lead to a patent that would provide revenue stream for the University of Minnesota.
February 7, 2019 - Dr. Peter Larsen Interviewed by St. Paul Pioneer Press
Dave Orrick, writer with the Saint Paul Pioneer Press interviewed Dr. Peter Larsen in the write-up, "Experts: Yes, chronic wasting disease in deer is a public health issue - for people," This article discusses the potential for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) to affect human health some day. Wildlife officials are currently tracking the state of Minnesota's largest outbreak of CWD in the southeast corner of the state. "The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization recommend against eating CWD-infected deer, but without anything conclusive, wildlife agencies throughout America say the decision is a personal choice, and some hunters do eat the meat." Dr. Peter Larsen explained how the rate of infection with CWD is similar to 'modeling radioactive material.'
February 1, 2019 - Dr. Peter Larsen Speaks to MPR About New Testing Methods for CWD
Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) recently interviewed Dr. Peter Larsen, VBS Assistant Professor, along with staff in the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) about a new way to test for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD.) MPR Writers John Enger and Angela Davis summarized their interview in the article, "New test could speed up detection of fatal brain disease in deer." In the write-up Dr. Larsen discussed the use of nanotechnology to detect Chronic Wasting Disease in deer, which would speed up testing. Funding requests have been proposed to the Minnesota State Legislature and Dr. Larsen with other UMN researchers are hopeful that with funding they can create a working prototype in two years.
January 23, 2019 - Drs. Pamela Skinner and Peter Larsen Address MN House Committee to Fund Chronic Wasting Disease
Drs. Pamela Skinner-VBS Professor, Peter Larsen-VBS Assistant Professor, Davis Seelig-VCS Assistant Professor, Dean Trevor Ames, and VDL Leaders including Dr. Jerry Torrison-VDL Director, presented to the Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committee to appeal for $1.8 million to fund research into early detection of Chronic Wasting Disease. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a contagious neurological disease affecting deer, elk, and moose. It causes degeneration of the brains of infected animals resulting in abnormal behavior, weight loss, loss of bodily functions, and death. Eric Martin, MN State House reporter wrote a full recap in the Minnesota House of Representatives Session Daily Home website.
The write up includes a breakdown explaining how with this funding, researchers could develop a test that will be able to detect the presence of Chronic Wasting Disease within minutes or hours as opposed to current testing which take up to 14 days and require further testing to confirm results. Dr. Skinner stated, "Current scientific advances should allow a test to be developed within two years, and any research in the project would have implications that reach beyond testing deer."
When discussion moved to the affects on wild animals in addition to farm animals, Dr. Larsen concluded, "The test would be deployable in the field, not just on farms. It would allow for better surveillance, enabling state agencies to respond quickly and effectively to both manage and potentially eradicate the disease."
There will be another meeting at the Capitol next week. 

The College of Veterinary Medicine breaks down the researchers involved in this projects as well as goals needed to acheive funding in "UMN veterinary scientists propose faster Chronic Wasting Disease diagnostic test."