The annual meeting of the Mississippi Chapter of The Wildlife Society featured a wildlife disease/emergency response workshop presented by Wildlife Services’ wildlife disease biologist Jonathan Lewis and feral swine coordinator Carson Nelson.
Students from Mississippi State University and Delta State were among the 31 workshop participants at the September meeting.
The first workshop exercise required attendees to don full personal protection Tyvek suits and respond to a mock disease outbreak using stuffed bears sprinkled with Glo Germ. The powder glows under a black light to illustrate the spread of germs and showed participants the importance of using personal protective clothing when responding to a disease outbreak.
Another exercise required participants to draw colored water, which simulated blood, from bottles, and to safely handle the samples using techniques taught in a Wildlife Services National Training Academy video. Participants discussed the importance of using blood sampling rather than tissue sampling for specimens, as well as blood spinning and sample submission.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks demonstrated a third exercise on collecting lymph node samples for chronic wasting disease testing. This is an important topic in Mississippi, which had its first confirmed case of CWD in a deer last February. MDWFP personnel conducted a full field necropsy of a white-tailed deer, discussing what to look for in the organs.
The last exercise focused on taking genetic ear plugs, or ear tissue samples, and nasal swabs from feral swine. Participants were able to try their hand at the ear punch tools and nasal swabs while wearing appropriate personal protection equipment. The workshop also discussed the importance of the genetic work conducted at the National Wildlife Research Center and various feral swine diseases.
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