Enhanced surveillance strategies for detecting and monitoring chronic wasting disease in free-ranging cervids

Open-File Report 2012-1036

Edited by:
Daniel P. Walsh



The purpose of this document is to provide wildlife management agencies with the foundation upon which they can build scientifically rigorous and cost-effective surveillance and monitoring programs for chronic wasting disease (CWD) or refine their existing programs. The first chapter provides an overview of potential demographic and spatial risk factors of susceptible wildlife populations that may be exploited for CWD surveillance and monitoring. The information contained in this chapter explores historic as well as recent developments in our understanding of CWD disease dynamics. It also contains many literature references for readers who may desire a more thorough review of the topics or CWD in general. The second chapter examines methods for enhancing efforts to detect CWD on the landscape where it is not presently known to exist and focuses on the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the surveillance program. Specifically, it describes the means of exploiting current knowledge of demographic and spatial risk factors, as described in the first chapter, through a two-stage surveillance scheme that utilizes traditional design-based sampling approaches and novel statistical methods to incorporate information about the attributes of the landscape, environment, populations and individual animals into CWD surveillance activities. By accounting for these attributes, efficiencies can be gained and cost-savings can be realized. The final chapter is unique in relation to the first two chapters. Its focus is on designing programs to monitor CWD once it is discovered within a jurisdiction. Unlike the prior chapters that are more detailed or prescriptive, this chapter by design is considerably more general because providing comprehensive direction for creating monitoring programs for jurisdictions without consideration of their monitoring goals, sociopolitical constraints, or their biological systems, is not possible. Therefore, the authors draw upon their collective experiences implementing disease-monitoring programs to present the important questions to consider, potential tools, and various strategies for those wildlife management agencies endeavoring to create or maintain a CWD monitoring program. Its intent is to aid readers in creating efficient and cost-effective monitoring programs, while avoiding potential pitfalls. It is hoped that these three chapters will be useful tools for wildlife managers struggling to implement efficient and effective CWD disease management programs.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Enhanced surveillance strategies for detecting and monitoring chronic wasting disease in free-ranging cervids
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
National Wildlife Health Center
ix, 42 p.
Online Only (Y/N):