What is chronic wasting disease?
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal, neurological illness occurring in North American cervids (members of the deer family), including white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose. Since its discovery in 1967, CWD has spread geographically and increased in prevalence locally. CWD is contagious; it can be transmitted freely within and among cervid populations. No treatments or vaccines are currently available.
Chronic wasting disease is of great concern to wildlife managers. It has been detected in at least 23 states, two Canadian provinces, and South Korea. CWD is not known to infect livestock or humans.
CWD is transmitted directly through animal-to-animal contact, and indirectly through contact with objects or environment contaminated with infectious material (including saliva, urine, feces, and carcasses of CWD-infected animals).
A new statistical approach to disease surveillance may improve scientists’ and managers’ ability to detect chronic wasting disease earlier in white-tailed deer by targeting higher-risk animals. This approach can also provide financial and personnel savings for agencies that are required to monitor for wildlife diseases, including the National Park Service, or NPS.
Long-term impacts of the chronic wasting disease (CWD) epidemic in North American deer, elk and moose will depend on how the disease persists in the environment, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.
Certain lichens can break down the infectious proteins responsible for chronic wasting disease (CWD), a troubling neurological disease fatal to wild deer and elk and spreading throughout the United States and Canada, according to U.S. Geological Survey research published today in the journal PLoS ONE.
Distribution of Chronic Wasting Disease in North America, updated March 2019.
Zoonotic diseases are those that are spread between wildlife and humans, and are an increasing health threat in the U.S. and throughout the world. As such diseases emerge, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and other wildlife health agencies must embark upon complex investigative work to determine what these diseases are, where they come from, and how they’re...