Although chronic wasting disease (CWD) is often thought of as primarily affecting deer, CWD also affects moose and other cervids (elk, mule deer, and white-tailed deer) throughout the U.S. CWD affects the nervous system in these animals and creates distinctive brain lesions. At this time, we have no treatment for CWD and it is fatal to the animals who contract it.
Chronic Wasting Disease
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an emerging infectious disease that is fatal to free-ranging and captive animals in Cervidae (the deer family; referred to as “cervids”). Affected animals include some Odocoileus, Cervus, and Muntiacus species (deer), Cervus canadensis (elk), Alces alces (moose), and Rangifer tarandus (reindeer). Once an animal is infected, CWD typically causes neurological damage that grows more severe until the host animal dies. Originally identified in 1967, to date (early 2018), the disease has been found in 24 States as well as Canada, South Korea, and Norway. It continues to spread across North America through new and ongoing outbreaks.