Kit shortage has slowed chronic wasting disease testing

Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on

Published in Outdoors

However, state and federal health officials recommend humans avoid consuming meat from CWD-positive animals.

In line with this recommendation, thousands of Wisconsin hunters are likely holding venison in freezers and awaiting test results before eating the meat.

Before the test kit shortage, turnaround time was about eight days in Wisconsin for CWD results from the ELISA test manufactured by Bio-Rad. The time includes sample shipping, preparation, testing and reporting.

Over the last month, results have not been available for more than 20 days.

The logjam is about to break, however. On Friday, Wisconsin received enough test kits to process more than 7,000 samples, said Ben Johnson, WVDL staff microbiologist.

If a positive test result is found on a deer from outside the CWD-endemic area, a follow-up immunohistochemistry test is performed. In such a case, the results could be further delayed by seven to 14 days.


"We greatly appreciate the patience of hunters who are waiting to find out the results," Lobner said. "Together with the staff at WVDL, we are doing everything possible to process the remaining samples in the coming days."

The DNR is providing test results to hunters by email (if the address was provided to the agency) and by mail. Hunters also can check the DNR website, where results are being updated daily.

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