Second Case Of Chronic Wasting Disease

Second Case Of Chronic Wasting Disease

June 26, 2001 Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management 
press release 502 by Kevin Omoth

Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management (SERM) has confirmed a second case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a wild mule deer in Saskatchewan.

The second case, a four year old mule deer buck, was one of 213 samples collected in early May by SERM staff from the Manito Sandhills region south of Lloydminster. All of the remaining 212 samples tested negative. The first positive case in wild deer was found in a two year old mule deer shot during last fall's hunting season in the same general area of the Manito Sandhills.

A sample collection program to monitor for CWD in Alberta was also conducted by staff from the Alberta Department of Sustainable Resource Development in May 2001 in the area adjacent to Lloydminster. They collected 241 samples, all of which tested negative for CWD.

CWD can infect the brain tissue of deer and elk. World health officials indicate that chronic wasting disease is not considered a public health risk and there is currently no scientific evidence the disease can be transmitted to humans or to traditional livestock.

After finding the initial positive animal in the wild, SERM anticipated that more cases might be found during the spring sample collection program. SERM will continue to harvest and sample animals from the area to determine the extent and prevalence of the disease. The fact that this second animal was found within three kilometres of where the last one was taken, however, can be a positive sign indicating that the disease may be restricted to a small area. Wildlife officials also believe that finding only two animals with CWD, out of 1,418 animals sampled over the last three years suggests that the occurrence of the disease in the wild is quite small.

More detailed information on this fall's CWD control program in wild deer and elk herds will be available in early August.

For more information, contact:

Kevin Omoth
Fish & Wildlife Branch
Environment and Resource Management
Phone: (306) 787-8102

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