MNR monitoring for CWD

The MNR is conducting a monitoring program this fall for chronic wasting disease in deer. As such, they will be collecting deer heads to find out if the disease is present in this area.
With the above in mind, the Fort Frances Sportsmen’s Club has invited the MNR to a meeting tomorrow (Oct. 26) at 7 p.m. at the old CN station to inform the public about the program.
While other topics, such as moose tag allocations and guaranteed group tags, and issues are on the agenda, CWD is the most important one.
So just what is chronic wasting disease?
It is one of the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE). Others include scrapie in sheep, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, and transmissible mink encephalopathy.
All are fatal diseases of the central nervous system that occur in domestic and wild animals.
CWD is the only TSE found in free-ranging wildlife such as elk and deer, and also has been found in captive animals of these species.
TSE’s like Creudzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), and new variant CJD, affect humans. CWD may be transmitted to humans, but it has not been proven conclusively at this time.
All these diseases are thought to be caused by some infectious agent.
The most accepted theory describes TSE agents as abnormal infectious particles called prions, which are closely related to a cell protein produced in the central nervous system.
All TSE’s have long incubation periods ranging up to several years, and there are no vaccines or treatments.
Once disease agents reach the brain, death occurs.
The disease can spread rapidly through captive cervids (i.e., deer, elk, and moose), and through wild animals where populations are high, like the deer herds in our area.
Animals with CWD are thin and show some combination of signs, including abnormal behaviour, tremors, stumbling, difficulty swallowing, excessive thirst, and excessive urination.

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