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Chronic Wasting Disease Testing Widens

  • Chronic wasting disease testing widens
    By Hanneke Broodymans
    Edmonton Journal, November 7, 2009
    Straight to the Source

Hunters must turn in deer heads from an expanded area of the province this fall as the government tries to figure out how far chronic wasting disease has spread.

This almost doubles the mandatory area from which heads were collected last year. The government also has three other areas, called wildlife management units, from which they are encouraging voluntary submission of heads.

The mandatory area now stretches from just south of Bonnyville to Dunmore in the south, and about 130 kilometres west into Alberta from the Saskatchewan border.

Chronic wasting disease, more commonly referred to as CWD, is a prion disease like bovine spongiform encephalopathy--mad cow disease--and it is always fatal. It affects ungulates, such as deer and elk. It isn't known to infect humans, but the World Health Organization nevertheless cautions people not to eat the meat of affected animals.

The first positive case of a wild deer with CWD was discovered in Alberta in 2005.Since then, another 61 cases have been found.

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