Arkansas - The results for two deer that previously tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) during Arkansas's modern gun season opener have been reversed, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission officials announced Wednesday.
According to a release, the results stem from a confirmation test taken earlier this week. One deer whose results were reversed came from Marion County; the other came from Yell County.
"We submit samples to a laboratory that conducts the ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) method as a screening test. This ELISA test has the ability to process a large number of samples at a quick rate, and can produce a specificity exceeding 99 percent," Gray said. "But, in some cases, the confidence level in a sample result can be low. In those situations, we follow up the ELISA test with the IHC test to ensure an accurate test result. In addition, anytime we receive a CWD-positive suspect in a new county, we send an additional sample collected from that animal to run the IHC test. The IHC is extremely accurate and reliable – the gold standard in regard to CWD testing – but the downside is that it may take weeks before sample results are received versus a few days with ELISA."
Gray added that confirmation tests have been going on since the disease was first detected in February. Additional samples were also sent for confirmation to ensure accuracy before the AGFC made the disease public.
He said the reversal of the Yell County test provides some temporary relief as biologists had feared the disease had crossed the Arkansas River.
"The river really doesn't pose a huge barrier because deer can swim pretty well," Gray said. "But anything that can slow the spread of the disease a little more is always welcome. Research in other states suggests that rivers, roads, and ridges may serve as barriers, hindering the spread of the disease."
So far, 150 white-tailed deer and six elk have been tested positive for CWD.
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