Tuesday, March 1, 2016

CWD Hits Arkansas

Chronic Wasting Disease - Mike Hopper, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
The first case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Arkansas was reported in an elk near Pruitt along the upper end of the Buffalo River.  There are around 600 elk in the area which has become a draw for tourists.
CWD Distribution 2015 - By USGS, National Wildlife Health Center
This Arkansas case was found due to a special permits elk hunting season as the only way the disease can be diagnosed is by studying the brain and spinal cord of the animal.  As of 2015, CWD has been confirmed in 26 free ranging deer in 5 northeastern Missouri counties.

CWD is thought to be caused by a prion, an infectious protein without an associated nucleic acid.  It causes a condition called transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, similar to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (popularly known as mad cow disease), scrapie in sheep, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in humans.  So far there is no evidence of any risk of CWD to humans.

Baiting deer for hunting is illegal in Missouri but feeding deer isn't.  Lots of well meaning people hang a corn feeder so they can watch "their" deer come in for supper.  Wisconsin is one of 12 states that still allows hunting deer brought into deer feeding stations, but they are discouraging the practice due to disease.
"Wisconsin DNR wildlife health officials say both CWD and Tuberculosis (TB) are transmitted through deer to deer contact and concentrations of deer at bait and feeding stations are likely to promote the transmission of infectious agents. CWD is also transmitted through exposure to a contaminated environment and TB is transmissible from contaminated food and feed sites."
We have long known that human diseases spread more rapidly when we are crowded together.  Epizootic hemorrhagic disease and bluetongue (EHD)
in deer occurs in late summer as water sources dry up and deer gather tightly together for water.  Too much sharing among them isn't healthy.  Maybe the time has come for us to stop sharing our corn with them at feeders.

EHD or Bluetongue- What is the difference?
Ten reasons you don't want CWD in your woods.
The Missouri Department of Conservation web site has lots of information on CWD.

1 comment:

  1. Awww wish they could cure them from that disease.