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CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE IN BC
WHAT IS CWD?
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) affects species in the deer family (cervids). It is caused by abnormal proteins (prions). CWD is found in mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose in many jurisdictions in North America, including Alberta and Saskatchewan. CWD is always fatal. The only practical way to test for CWD is to examine tissues from a dead animal’s head – the tonsils, lymph nodes, and base of the brain.
IS CWD IN BRITISH COLUMBIA?
No. BC is considered at low risk for CWD. No animals have tested positive in BC since testing began in 2001, but ongoing testing is necessary to ensure that BC is kept CWD free. The nearest cases are in Eastern Alberta. Heads of road killed or hunter killed animals are tested.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF CWD?
Infected animals will not exhibit signs for several years. Signs in later stages of the disease include severe wasting (thin), drooling, excessive thirst, lethargy, poor coordination, and drooping head and ears. If you see an animal with these symptoms – please report it to the B.C. Wildlife Health Program (250) 751-3219.
HOW IS IT SPREAD?
CWD occurs only in species in the deer family, with no evidence of transmission to livestock, domestic animals or humans. Deer can get CWD through animal-to-animal contact as well as animal contact with contaminated environments. Prions can live in the soil. It is transmitted between animals through contact with urine, saliva and/or feces.
For more information contact the B.C. Wildlife Health Program @ (250) 751-3219 Or visit our website: www.stopchronicwastingdisease.ca