B.C. responding to first case of chronic wasting disease in deer

B.C. responding to first case of chronic wasting disease in deer
(File photo/CBC)
BC's first two cases of chronic wasting in deer were found in two samples from outside of Cranbrook.

The province is responding to its first cases of chronic wasting disease in British Columbia, found in two deer samples from the Kootenay Region.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an infectious and fatal disease found in animals such as deer, elk, moose and caribou.

“We have been watching CWD spread province to province, state to state for at least 20 years, so this is terrible news for British Columbians,” said Jesse Zeman, executive director of the B.C. Wildlife Federation in a release Thursday.

“CWD is devastating to cervid populations. Continued vigilance and testing are key to organizing preventative measures,” he said.

There is no evidence that the disease can be transferred to humans and there have been no cases of the disease in humans. As a measure of caution though, Health Canada and the World Health Organization recommend people not eat meat or other parts of an animal infected with chronic wasting disease.

Anyone who sees a deer, elk, moose or caribou exhibiting symptoms such as weight-loss, drooling, poor coordination, stumbling, or generally sick with no obvious reason – is asked to report it the to the 24/7 Report All Poachers and Polluters Line (1 877 952-7277) or the B.C. Wildlife Health Program.

The two cases of chronic wasting disease were found outside of Cranbrook. One sample was from a harvested male deer, while another was found from an adult female white-tailed deer that had been struck by a car.

The provincial wildlife veterinarian is working with a chronic wasting disease advisory committee and regional working groups, which include First Nations, stakeholders, experts on chronic wasting disease and other partners.

SEE ALSO: Concerns remain over methods used in Sidney Island deer eradication

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