Ontario is under threat by an infection that affects wildlife in North America. The infection is known as the chronic waste disease and can affect animals that are parts of the deer family, such as mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, moose, caribou, and reindeer. The CWD is transmissible and affects the brain of said mammals, leading ultimately to death.
This infection has spread until now to 26 U.S. states and also to three Canadian provinces: Quebec, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Ontario seems to be the next province to be in jeopardize.
Canada is taking caution measures against chronic waste disease
The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, economists, doctors, and biologists request the government of Canada to take caution measures against the infectious disease. This is severe matter as the BSE (the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) that spread across Canada 16 years ago caused injury to many cattle producers. The CWD is expected to have an even worse outcome as this disease can spread from soil and plants that have been contaminated by the already infected deer.
All around the world, countries are taking measures to suppress the spread of this disease. Some countries, for example, suspended hay and straw imports from territories in which the infection was located.
Even though studies show that CWD cannot be transmitted to human beings, people are advised not to consume meat and other organs of infected deer and elks. The Canadian government also believes that informing the public about the disease it can help to stop the epidemic from spreading. Other measures that might be taken by the government are interrupting the hunting season, creating quarantine zones and putting together effective strategies.
The chronic waste disease – Causes and symptoms
The first symptom of the disease is the loss of weight, which is followed by difficulty in movement. As the central nervous system is affected, the disease leads to the death of the animal.
The agent that causes chronic waste disease is a prion, which is some abnormal protein. The prion makes other healthy and normal proteins to behave in unnatural ways and to damage the healthy brain tissue. As there is no known way to destroy them, the disease spreads without problems if not contained.
Chronic Wasting Disease is actually not currently present in Ontario’s deer population.