(Mirror Daily, United States) – The DNR is urging deer hunters to provide samples of their catch before either cooking or selling the meat of the animals in fear of disease. Across many states, chronic waste disease (CWD) has become a major problem in terms of deer hunting seasons. The infection is deadly to the animals, and they wish to prevent it before it’s transmitted to humans.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has given out a warning to all hunters. They should bring a deer’s head or its morsels to the laboratories for the purpose of testing it for CWD. The sampling will aid the states in monitoring the spread of the disease, developing prevention methods, and warn those who have killed infected animals.
CWD was first reported in 1967, and it was noted to infect the deer, moose, and elk population. Symptoms include weight loss, lack of coordination, and then eventual death of the animal. It’s not yet known how exactly it’s transmitted, but researchers believe it may be through the grass from infected soil.
The cause is an unusual protein, called a prion, which sticks into the central nervous system of the animal. There, it multiplies until the high concentration of prions leads to neurodegenration. That leads to the animal’s demise, and it’s unfortunately impossible to diagnose while the deer is still alive. Instead, it can only be found too late. However, hunters could have an idea before they consume the meat.
The DNR has asked hunters to first get the animals tested, and certainly not risk consuming the morsels from its head. That is where the prions make their natural home. Even after cutting the animals, it’s advised that their hands and tools are properly washed, in addition to bringing the animals over for testing. Their efforts are stemmed in the need to end a potential epidemic.
According to Bryan Richards, from the National Wildlife Health Center of Wisconsin, if the matter is left unaddressed, between 40-50% of the deer population could become infected. It might not cause a direct die-off, but does will perish at a young age, and it will prevent them from reaching full maturity where they might give birth to several fawns. Thus, their numbers will lower.
At the moment, there are 23 states across the U.S. that are battling the CWD crisis, be it for wild deer or those held captive. So far, the spreading of the disease is slow. However, by humans moving them from one state to another, it might grow in speed. It should be noted that moving animals who have not been given a clean bill of health may result in serious fines.
Image source: rtejr.rte.ie
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