The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is experiencing significant testing delays for chronic wasting disease (CWD) due to a national shortage of test kits. Approximately 2,180 Tennessee CWD samples are currently backlogged until additional test kits become available.
Diagnostic laboratories are affected nationwide, including the two laboratories TWRA partners with to conduct CWD testing. The test manufacturer, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., expects more test kits to become available in mid to late February. Before the shortage, the testing turnaround time for hunter-harvested deer in Unit CWD was 8-12 days.
“TWRA is in active communications with our partners to monitor the number of affected samples and to assist in any way possible,” said Wildlife and Forestry Chief Joe Benedict. “Samples will be held at the lab until they are able to be processed, and TWRA recommends hunters keep venison packaged separately in the freezer until test results have been returned.”
There have been no reported cases of CWD infection in humans. However, to be as safe as possible and decrease the potential risk of exposure to CWD, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises individuals not to eat the meat from an animal that tests positive for CWD. More information about CWD is available at www.CWDinTennessee.com.