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Volume 12, Number 2—February 2006

Surveillance for Prion Disease in Cervids, Germany

Elvira Schettler*Comments to Author , Falko Steinbach*†, Iris Eschenbacher-Kaps‡, Kirsten Gerst§, Franz Meussdoerffer¶, Kirsten Risch§, Wolf Jürgen Streich*, and Kai Frölich*
Author affiliations: *Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, Germany; †Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Weybridge, United Kingdom; ‡Cenas AG, Kulmbach, Germany; §Landesveterinär- und Lebensmitteluntersuchungsamt Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Rostock, Germany; ¶University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany

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Table 2

Free-living German cervids tested for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, 2002–2005

Characteristic Roe deer Red deer Fallow deer Total
No. animals tested 4,250 1,416 1,390 7,056
Female 3,137 1,257 1,246 5,640
Male* 502 148 144 794
Unknown 611 11 0 622
Age (y)
<2 279 127 154 560
2–3 2,196 743 841 3,780
4–6 890 383 329 1,602
>6 273 154 66 493
Unknown 612 9 0 621
Increased risk category 1,959 1,110 1,097 4,166
BSE risk† 1,409 334 236 1,979
Scrapie risk‡ 693 215 443 1,351
Fallow deer high density§ 1,035 1,035
Red deer high density§ 1,030 1,030
Clinical suspects¶ 55 9 5 69
Found dead 123 16 3 142
Normal risk category# 1,684 297 293 2,274
No BSE risk 2,234 1,073 1,154 4,461
No scrapie risk 2,950 1,192 947 5,089
Fallow deer low density 355 355
Red deer low density 377 377
Cervids with unknown risk** 607 9 0 616

*Relatively few male animals were tested. According to a recent report, male cervids appear to be at higher risk for chronic wasting disease than sympatric females (10).
†Animal came from a district where bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) incidence in cattle was higher than the average BSE incidence in Germany (true for all target species).
‡Animal came from a district with occurrence of scrapie in sheep (true for all target species).
§Fallow deer distributed in districts with high fallow deer density or red deer distributed in districts with high red deer density.
¶Cachexia and central nervous system disorders.
#An animal was allocated to the normal risk category if none of the above risk factors applied.
**Animals (n = 616) with unknown risk attributes were not included in risk analysis.

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