The federal lab in Ames where most of the nation’s testing is done on ailments like “Mad Cow” Disease and Chronic Wasting Disease in deer is seeing a significant increase in the number of tests it’s performing. Dr. Mark Hall is head of pathology at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory. He says two years ago, about 23-hundred “Mad Cow” Disease tests were performed. Last year, it was over 20-thousand. With scrapie in sheep, the numbers over two years went from about 400 to 13-thousand. Dr. Hall says the testing numbers are also bounding for C-W-D in deer and elk.Last year, about three thousand C-W-D tests were done at the Ames lab. This year, it’s up to 11-thousand-100 tests. Hall speculates on the reason behind the huge rises in the workload.He says there’s a lot more awareness, especially with the “Mad Cow” Disease scares overseas, the U-S has increased its surveillance, and he expects the numbers to keep rising.Hall says C-W-D numbers are bounding. He expects next year’s testing numbers to go up significantly, from 11-thousand this year to perhaps 200- or-300-thousand next year. He says each test for C-W-D is time-consuming, as a brain sample from a deer is sent in. He says they take the sample, about the size of a nickel, and have to cut it to fit onto a slide and then put on reagents that indicate if the disease is present.Two other national labs do testing as well. They’re located in Colorado and Wyoming. NO cases of C-W-D have been found in Iowa but infected deer or elk have been isolated in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska.
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