Chronic Wasting Disease in Canada

by Jennifer Smith January 16, 2017 wasting disease (CWD) is a transmissible brain disease commonly found in mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk (or "wapiti"), and moose ("elk" in Europe). The disease is quite progressive and is mostly always fatal. Behavior changes in deer cause the deer to experience a loss of weight over time, body tremors, anxiety, and a lack of interaction with other wildlife. As of 2016, CWD had only been found in members of the deer family in Wyoming and Colorado; but has rapidly spread throughout North America. Now, cases of CWD in deer have been reported in over 23 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency works with provincial governments and industry to conduct regular surveillance of Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and elk. Here are the reported confirmations of CWD in 2016:

 November 1: Saskatchewan, Deer

October 3: Alberta, Elk

February 18: Saskatchewan, Deer

March 21: Saskatchewan, Deer

May 18: Saskatchewan, Elk

July 21: Saskatchewan, Elk

Risk of CWD in Pasture: Farmers are advised to take caution of sick deer that may wander their farms or property. Chronic Wasting Disease can be transmitted to grazing cows and can even contaminate grass (further passing the disease on to cows).

Risk of CWD in humans: Although the risk of human infection is low, hunters are advised not to consume elk or deer meat that was infected. If the deer is acting abnormally, or appears to be sick, it's best to keep a distance from the wild animal. The incubation period in humans sometimes is as long as 30-40 years!

Chronic Wasting Disease can affect other wildlife, including small rodents. recommends installing deer, elk and rodent fencing around properties to safeguard properies and protect families and domestic animals from the possible transmission of this wildlife disease.

Jennifer Smith
Jennifer Smith