New Canadian research sheds light on how a disease deadly to certain animals, mostly in the wild, is spread. The answer seems to lie beneath their feet!
by Larry Powell It's a terrible ailment called chronic wasting disease (CWD). A moose in Riding Mountain National Park, Canada. A PinP photo. Canada's Food Inspection Agency describes it as "a progressive, fatal disease of the nervous system of cervids (deer, elk and moose)." It is blamed on a prion , or abnormal protein, which is also linked to mad cow disease in cattle, scrapie in sheep and CJD in humans. But CWD is the only disease in this group which spreads through the environment. It's been common in North America for years and, to a lesser degree, south Korea. Here in Canada, it has long been ravaging free-roaming animals in Saskatchewan and Alberta. More recently, it has been detected on a farm which raises red deer in Quebec and even among domesticated reindeer in northern Europe. Up 'til now, at least, some experts have considered CWD pretty much unstoppable. But a new study by a team of four researchers at the U