Saskatchewan and Alberta are seeing more chronic wasting disease

Officials in both provinces report that some of these cases are located in new areas – a finding that suggests that the disease may be spreading or that animals with CWD are on the move.

This story is from CP by John Cotter.

Deer in other provinces tested negative. Officials are afraid it might spread to caribou. It infects all species of North American deer, elk and moose. It kind of an ultimate nightmare which I why I keep pounding on Wyoming and the menace of its wildlife policies. The worst infections are the Eastern Wyoming and along the Front in Colorado.

Chronic wasting disease is caused by a malformed protein, called a prion, which causes other proteins to fold incorrectly too. The result is many holes the the brains of those infected. Scientifically this class of diseases is called spongiform encephalopathies.

Chronic wasting disease, unlike mad cow disease, is directly transmissible from animal to animal, one reason why crowding cervids on winter feedlots is thought by many to be especially dangerous.


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  1. livingtowrite Avatar

    We’re having a real problem with that here in Wisconsin too. A friend of mine works for the DNR and they want to do a mass killing of all the deer up north — bringing in hunters and sharp shooters and offering a reward. Anyway, the brief info is great since for the most part, I’m clueless.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Thanks for comments from Wisconsin. I did read about a year ago there was controversy about how to dispose of the remains of the CWD deer in the Badger state.

    Prions are relatively indestructible. If a person dies of mad cow disease or its human counterpart (CJ disease) any instruments used to dissect the brain have to be sterilized by boiling them in acid!

  3. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    The problem of chronic wasting disease is an area where I’ve done a lot of research. I have available a recent legislative audit of the State of Wisconsin’s counter-CWD efforts, if anyone is interested.

    The conclusion of the audit is that despite over $30 million in expendidtures, the Wisconsin DNR has had no success is limiting the spread of the disease. The strategy of increasing levels of slaughter is coming into dispute.

    Write me at info@gravelbar.org for a copy of the audit in .pdf format.

  4. Chocolate Cowgirl Avatar

    Recently I have studied the map showing the incidents of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

    http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/disease_information/chronic_wasting_disease/north_america_CWD_map.jsp

    Interesting the CWD incidents are conspicuously missing in regions where wolves are present. This is true Northern Saskatchewan, Minnesota and Michigan.

    The hypothesis is that the wolf removes infected animals early in the disease cycle reducing the chances of transmission. In addition, wolves tend to break large elk herds into smaller herds resulting in a barrier to disease transmission.

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