- chronic wasting disease
Pennsylvania faces a pressing ecological threat that has nothing to do with birds, temperature or sprawling development.
Chronic wasting disease is killing white-tailed and mule deer in 26 states and two Canadian provinces, and scientists don’t know how to slow its spread. Because it hasn’t infected humans, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and other wildlife agencies are struggling to find ways to convince the public that CWD threatens state and provincial economies, wildlife density and habitat and the quality of life of every citizen.
“This is serious,” said Courtney Colley, hired by the Game Commission to communicate with the public on the topic of chronic wasting disease. “It lives in the environment forever, there’s no cure and it’s not like it’s [the disease] coming someday — it’s already here.”
CWD entered southcentral Pennsylvania in 2012. This summer, due to a positive test on a roadkill, a disease management area established to contain the disease was expanded into the state’s southwest corner, reaching Ligonier, Westmoreland County.
The Game Commission’s evolving plan to slow the spread of the disease among free-ranging deer will be revised in 2020. Ms. Colley is on a CWD education drive, public input is invited and an informational meeting will be held Wednesday at the Pitcairn-Monroeville Sportsmen’s Club.
Discovered at a research facility in Colorado in 1967, chronic wasting disease is not caused by a bacteria or virus. Misfolded proteins called prions form and lodge in the brain, spinal column and other areas in the bodies of deer, elk, moose and other hooved species in the family Cervidae. It is similar to bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease. When a healthy protein is touched by a malformed prion, the normal organic compound also becomes infected. The disease spreads through saliva, urine and feces. The prions survive in soil and cannot be destroyed with fire, ice or time, infecting deer that later contact them.
Despite evidence that mad cow disease caused another spongiform encephalopathy, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, in people who ate beef from infected animals, there are no reported cases of CWD infecting people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions that an animal study found CWD entered certain non-human primates, squirrel monkeys, that ate meat from CWD-infected animals.
“CWD can affect [deer] of all ages and some infected animals may die without ever developing the disease,” states a CDC website. “[Chronic wasting disease] is fatal to animals and there are no treatments or vaccines.”
Despite extensive CWD prevention protocols in commercial deer farms that market venison for food and doe urine for hunting, and the existential threat the disease brings to the industry, CWD has been confirmed at several fenced facilities in Pennsylvania. The state Department of Agriculture quarantined those farms, banning the import and export of deer. Farms that had sent or received deer from the quarantined facilities also were shuttered. Wild deer have contracted the disease in proximity to deer farms, leading some to see a connection.
From southcentral counties, CWD spread north and west in Pennsylvania among free-ranging deer. More than 10,000 dead whitetails have been tested for CWD since 2012 with 250 confirmed cases among wild deer.
Story re-posted from Post-Gazette. Written by John Hayes.
Deer in the eastern U.S., including Pennsylvania, are more susceptible to chronic wasting disease – the always fatal brain disease in deer and related cervid species that continues to spread across the country.Penn State researchers have identified a panel of genetic markers that predict which animals are most vulnerable to the disease, which has been [...]
Chronic Wasting Disease is not the only ailment affecting cervid family members. In addition to CWD, white-tailed deer are susceptible to tick diseases, including Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis as well as other parasitic illnesses including: CryptosporidiosisDeer ParapoxvirusHydatid Tapeworms (Echinococcosis)Equine Encephalitis VirusesEscherichia coli Infection (E. coli)GiardiasisHantavirusRabiesRaccoon Roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis)Salmonellosis (Salmonella species)Sarcoptic mangeToxoplasmosisTrichinellosis (trichinosis)TuberculosisTularemiaWest Nile VirusSpecific Risks Associated with [...]
TranscriptSCOTT SIMON, HOST:In at least 26 states across the country, deer, elk and moose are coming down with a harrowing fatal disease. It starts with weight loss and ends with stumbling and drooling as the animal's brain tissue deteriorates. It's bad for them. It's bad for hunting. It could even be bad for human beings. [...]
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - As Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) spreads in Tennessee, there are concerns the disease could jump from deer to humans."Back in the back of my brain, is it a concern? The answer is yes," Dr. William Schaffner at Vanderbilt University Medical Center told News 2. The concern grows as CWD spreads. "It [...]
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological disease in cervid species. Because the disease passes from animal to animal, many deer hunters and deer meat lovers are asking "Can I get CWD?"As of 2016, there haven't been reported cases of Chronic Wasting Disease in humans. A study conducted at the Alberta Prion Research Institute [...]
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation says 11 deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease after the opening weekend of fall firearms season.The positive tests are from more than 20,000 tissue samples taken during the agency’s mandatory sampling program for hunter-harvested deer in 31 counties during Nov. 10-11 opening weekend.The 11 new [...]
After finding dozens of dead deer, Barringer suspected an outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease, known most commonly as EHD — and relatively new to Pennsylvania. There have been periodic outbreaks stretching possibly to 1996, though the first officially confirmed case wasn't until 2002.The season for bow hunting recently opened, but firearms aren't permitted until [...]
Wyoming Game and Fish Department have confirmed a bull elk tested positively for Chronic Wasting Disease in Elk Hunt Area 66. The elk was killed northeast of Meeteetse. Last year, over 3300 cervid were tested for CWD in the hunting area, and surrounding cities, within the state of Wyoming. The spread of CWD is caused by [...]
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Department of Natural Resources’ board has unanimously approved an emergency rule that requires deer farms to strengthen their fences as part of an attempt to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease.The rule calls for deer farms that have had a CWD infection to install a second fence or [...]