Chronic Wasting Disease:
In a concerning development, scientists are sounding the alarm about the potential spread of a condition known as chronic wasting disease (CWD) from animals to humans.
- Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) also known as Zombie deer disease, is a neurological disorder affecting deer and other cervids (members of the deer family) caused by the abnormal growth of a misfolded protein called a prion.
- This prion causes healthy brain proteins to become abnormal, leading to a range of symptoms.
- CWD is contagious; it can be transmitted freely within and among cervid populations.
- CWD is transmitted directly through animal-to-animal contact and indirectly through contact with objects or environments contaminated with infectious material (including saliva, urine, faeces, and carcasses of CWD-infected animals).
- It may take over a year before an infected animal develops symptoms, which can include drastic weight loss (wasting), stumbling, listlessness, and other neurologic symptoms.
- CWD is particularly concerning because it has the potential to affect both animals and humans, with the possibility of transmission through the consumption of infected meat.
- CWD can affect animals of all ages, and some infected animals may die without ever developing the disease.
- CWD is fatal to animals, and there are no treatments or vaccines.