Scientific Opinion on the results of the EU survey for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in cervids


Panel on Biological Hazards
EFSA Journal
EFSA Journal 2010;8(10):1861 [29 pp.].
Panel Members
Olivier Andreoletti, Herbert Budka, Sava Buncic, John D Collins, John Griffin, Tine Hald, Arie Havelaar, James Hope, Günter Klein, James McLauchlin, Christine Müller-Graf, Christophe Nguyen-The, Birgit Noerrung, Luisa Peixe, Miguel Prieto Maradona, Antonia Ricci, John Sofos, John Threlfall, Ivar Vågsholm and Emmanuel Vanopdenbosch

The Panel wishes to thank the members of the Working Group on the Results of EU survey for CWD in cervids: Olivier Andreoletti, Dirk Berkvens, Christian Ducrot, Dolores Gavier-Widen, John Griffin, James Hope and Emmanuel Vanopdenbosch for the preparatory work on this scientific opinion and the hearing expert Matthias Greiner for the support provided to this scientific opinion.

Opinion of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel
On request from
European Commission
Question Number
22 September 2010
Published in the EFSA Journal
12 October 2010
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy

The BIOHAZ Panel was asked to provide a scientific opinion drawing conclusions on the occurrence of CWD in the cervid population in the EU, based on the results of a survey set up by the European Commission and aimed at detecting the possible presence of CWD and other TSEs in wild and farmed cervids in the EU during years 2006 to 2010. The survey was designed taking into account recommendations from an earlier 2004 EFSA opinion and established the minimum sample size to be collected from wild and farmed red deer (Cervus elaphus elaphus) from a number of Member States and from wild white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) from Finland. It also required all Member States to collect additional samples from all cervid species. Overall, approximately 13,000 brain stem samples were collected from cervids of different species in 21 Member States and Norway. No TSE positive results were found. The opinion presents, analyses and discusses the results of the survey, explains the uncertainties involved and outlines the limitations of the survey and its results. It is concluded that the lack of one positive TSE test in the farmed and wild red deer and wild white-tailed deer which were sampled indicates that there is not a cervid TSE epidemic in the EU. It is also concluded that, considering the spreading of CWD within and from clusters in North America, the limitations of the sampling performed in the EU CWD/TSEs survey and the known susceptibility of certain cervid species to CWD, occurrence of cases of TSEs, especially in remote and presently unsampled geographic areas, may not be excluded in cervids in the EU. A few recommendations for further experimental studies and possible future monitoring of CWD/TSEs in EU cervids are also provided.

Chronic Wasting Disease, Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies, monitoring, cervids, red deer, white-tailed deer
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