New method could test for CWD in live animals

A new test could allow biologists to detect chronic wasting disease in live cervids.
Credit: Tupper Ansel Blake/USFWS

A new technique could allow biologists to test live animals for the deadly chronic wasting disease. The method allows scientists to test tissue from the animal’s ear rather than having to collect lymph nodes or rectal samples.

Researchers describe the technique in Scientific Reports. Out of 58 ear punches from what appeared to be healthy deer harvested by hunters, the test detected 81% of infected animals and 91% of animals not infected.

The fatal disease affects cervids and has been spreading across North America. Biologists have identified it in 26 states and two Canadian provinces.

Read more from the Associated Press.