Wildlife disease ecologist gave expert testimony on the subject of ‘chronic wasting disease’

After a strike of chronic disease in 2 captive deer herds back in 2005, NY became the only state which successfully prevented the disease from spreading further within its boundaries. Other states like Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and various others weren’t this fortunate enough are seeing this life-threating disease with growing frequency.

Wildlife disease ecologist, Krysten Schuler who works at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, gave specialized testimony and suggested recommendations on the matter at a subcommittee summit of the United States House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources on the 25th June.

She said that chronic wasting disease is the most severe threat facing wild deer, as well as, elk populations in North America at present. Schuler has been studying this disease since 2002. During this duration, she has seen the spread of disease to 26 states. She further stated that the presence of this disease amongst the wild animals makes it unique hence exceptionally hard to study.

In the beginning, the Chronic Wasting Disease was detected in a captive cervid herd in the early 20th century and then in the wild North American cervids in the late 20th century. The family of cervid includes members of the deer family, elk, and reindeer.

This highly transmissible disease destroys the neurological system of animals, leaving voids in the brain. Animals might be infected for a whole year or more before exhibiting any symptom, which is inclusive of weight loss, losing the fear of people, drooling, dehydration & reduced coordination. It is fatal in all cases; since there aren’t any vaccines, cure, antibiotics, or treatments. Animals who are infected by this disease are more probable of being killed by any hunter, predator or a vehicle.

In addition to this, this deadly disease is nearly impossible to eradicate. Schuler told that at its core, the disease erodes the public trust resources. Any significant strategies to battle CWD will require long-term measures with the sustained state, as well as, federal efforts.