Chronic demolition disease is not yet widespread in Utah, but officials urge caution

Deer on the pavement on the Powers Field Club Pete Dye Golf Course on July 18, 2018.
Photo file Park record

The deer, elk and iconic North American article are under threat, and scientists are only aware of how.

Chronic Disease Disease (CWD) has not yet been accepted in Utah, but as spring life begins to return to the mountains, Utah and Colorado experts say that residents should be aware of the illness and its symptoms in species. indigenous.

The fatal illness of mammals of the deer family is scattered throughout several states, including a border with Colorado and Wyoming, and beyond international borders. And in some places, such as Colorado, it has reached a crisis point and government task forces are being formed to plan a response. In some parts of that state, it is estimated that one in ten people in a herd may be infected, and in some hunting areas it is mandatory to introduce a deer for testing during the rifle season.

While studies have not shown what some of them call “zombie disease” to be transmissible to humans, authorities urge against contact with suspected animals that they are carrying them.

This recommendation reflects the key challenge facing scientists and officials in Utah and other states in mitigating the spread of CWD: Compared to other diseases such as influenza or even cancer, the reason is not so great, said Annette Roug, veterinarian. with Utah Wildlife Division.

The impact of CWD spreading on humans and the ecosystem remains unclear, although infected animals are being addressed at the higher margin rates and there is a higher risk of traffic accidents. (It is not observed that the mountain lions eaten by infected deer.) The disease has not been linked to climate change yet, but Roug said.

Unlike most diseases, CWD is not genetic, fungal, bacterial or viral. It is a product of badly-consumed protein – known as prion – which was already present in the body of people affected and it can spread to other animals, and as a result it does not affect the immune system. body.

The most infamous case of a prion outbreak is bovine spongiform encephalopathy – commonly known as mad cow disease. The outbreak of mad cow in British beef products was hit in the 1990s, and it is believed that the disease is spread to people in the form of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob diseases.

According to Roug, the problem of having prints in wildlife populations, because they are not living organisms such as fungi or bacteria, is that they cannot be killed, such as viruses. They can be inert in the soil for years before a host is found.

“Environmental durability is a big problem with cheap animals,” said Roug.

Unlike a virus, there is no vaccine – the printer puts the "normal proteins" in the body that is poorly known, as a cancerous cell makes in its surroundings. It can take years to show signs of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, as lesions in the brain reduce it to a spongy spongy state and eventually kill the person.

But when they do, it is incredible.

Symptoms of CWD in deer, dolphin and bonds include inadequate appearance, anger, drooling from mouth, difficulty with standing and irregular hair.

“They don't work like ordinary deer, or moose or moose,” said Roug.

Roug warned, as Utah's mountain ranges continue from a brutal winter, that some of the animals may not be seen but it is difficult to find meals in recent months. However, the Natural Resources Division recommends caution in interacting with road bikes and hunting, and DNR officers also test road and live populations in the state. An action plan from the office is due.

Most of the cases recorded in Utah are mostly seen in the northeast and southeastern regions of Colorado, according to the DNR.

Over that limit, the situation is much worse.

“The feeling is that it is spreading, and we don't really know how to stop it,” said Travis Duncan, spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department.

CWD was first viewed by researchers near Fort Collins on the first in the 1960s, and it is unclear how long the disease was present before that point. Colorado's Department of Parks and Widlife estimates that infected herds in the state have increased ten years in the last two decades, and a task force has developed a plan to address the issue, including mandatory game testing, population control and infection sources. minimized.

Duncan hopes that increased public awareness of scientists and officials will help to respond better to the problem, as well as agencies working across state and national lines to compare notes on the disease.

“The radar of people is getting bigger, but I personally want people to understand it better,” said Duncan. “We have some of the most important scientists in the country who have worked on it for many years.” T

As CWD starts to increase, co-operation across these borders is likely to be crucial, and Utah's wildlife is never guaranteed to remain safe. It is not like the deer with the limitations.

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