More Info Regarding CWD
By angelamontana

Posted: December 19, 2017

Chronic Wasting Disease is a topic among FWP officials and many hunters at this point.  It may be difficult to understand what exactly this disease is, and that is why going to the CWD meetings hosted by FWP is a good way to ask questions and get answers.  In the meantime, here is some information from the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance that can help explain more about the disease:

  • CWD is a neurological disease that degenerates the brain cells of infected animals and brings about emaciation (one of the symptoms of the disease).
  • It is a disease caused by a prion—a protein infection that converts the other proteins into the diseased form.
  • The disease affects only some cervids, primarily mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, and moose.
  • CWD is contagious between cervids, but it is not believed to be able to naturally spread to other livestock or to humans.
  • It is not “mad cow disease” for deer, but officials still urge caution when dealing with diseased animals.

People are wondering where this disease originated, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has done extensive research and has the following information posted:

  • Computer modeling of the spread of this disease shows that free-ranging mule deer may have carried CWD for over 40 years.
  • The disease was first found in a Colorado research facility in the 1960s.
  • There are two theories as to how it originated:
    • Most believe that CWD came from a similar disease, scrapie, that affected domestic sheep in the early part of the last century.
    • CWD may have also occurred spontaneously in the wild, which is possible for this type of disease.

(Feature photo via Windmill 12)