AR-News: [US] Chronic wasting disease spreads with ease

Andrew Gach unclewolf at
Thu Sep 4 15:35:10 EDT 2003

Chronic wasting disease spreads with ease
Decades of culling and containment may be needed. 
4 September 2003 
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is more infectious than was previously thought, say US researchers. The finding suggests that tough long-term measures are needed to contain the disease, perhaps involving the deaths of thousands of North American deer.

In an experimental herd in Colorado, some 90% of animals succumbed to the disease within four years, regardless of whether their parents were infected or not. Infection is thought to spread in urine, saliva or faeces, via routes such as shared scratching posts or contaminated grazing land.

At present, up to a tenth of Colorado's 500,000 mule deer carry the disease. "Given enough time, all of the deer here will succumb," says wildlife veterinarian Mike Miller from the Wildlife Research Centre in Fort Collins, Colorado, who studied transmission rates in deer.

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