Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), also known as Cervid Wasting Disease, is a highly infectious, fatal disease which has devastated some populations of wild and farmed deer in North America.
CWD has very recently been diagnosed in four separate cases in Scandinavia, in a wild reindeer and also in moose. The risk of CWD entering the UK is therefore likely to have increased now the disease is present in Europe.
CWD is caused by a prion, a mutant folded protein, and belongs to the same group of diseases as scrapie, which affects sheep and goats, and “mad cow disease” (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or BSE). This group of diseases is known collectively as Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies or TSEs. CWD is the most infectious of these – the name suggests a body sickness but actually degeneration of the brain and central nervous system is the main symptom.
A working group has been established to formulate a government and industry response, building on the work of the British Deer Society (BDS) over the last few years. The following information leaflet regarding CWD has been produced by the working group, of which BASC is a member.
For details on how to spot CWD, what to do if you suspect it and measures to prevent its spread, please click here for more information.