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Zombie deer disease, & # 39; a.k.a. chronic wasting disease, heats up in Pennsylvania

Chronic abrasive disease, which some will notice "zombie deer disease", has been found again in private, imprisoned deer operations in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture recently announced that a doe at a Bethel Township, Fulton County, breeding farm and a buck at a Bloom Township, Clearfield County, has hunted successfully tested the CWD.

Both farms will be under quarantine for 5 years, like the Fulton County Farm, where the goat was purchased four weeks before its harvest on the Clearfield County Hunting Store where it had been moved and released.

While none of the deer showed signs of CWD before its death, both were born and raised in an area in Fulton County where wild deer have tested positive for CWD since 201

5 and captive deer have tested positive since 2017.

Bloom Township Hunting Preserve is just a few miles south of Pennsylvania's southernmost moose management zone and about 25 miles south of Benezette, the heart of the Pennsylvania Elk Range.

CWD infects deer, moose, moose and all species in the cervid family. It's always fatal. There is no treatment for an infected animal and no vaccine to protect any animal.

It spreads through direct contact with saliva, stools and urine from infected animal or contaminated environment.

Most wildlife agencies are run by hunters and hunted-game problems, and deer are the No. 1 most hunted wild game species throughout North America, meaning the greatest concern in most states is the impact on deer and deer hunting.

In states with large population populations and large-scale tourism Based on these herds, like Pennsylvania, there is further concern over the potential impact on much of economic activity.

Human Impacts

Agencies involved in combating the spread and impact of CWD regularly Note that disease control and prevention centers say no cases of the disease infecting humans have been reported.

But here's what the CDC offers on its CWD website:

"To date, no cases of CWD infection in humans have been reported. However, animal studies suggest that CWD poses a risk to some forms of non-human primates, As monkeys who eat meat from CWD-infected animals or come into contact with brain or body fluids from infected deer or moose, these studies raise concerns that there may be a risk to humans, and since 1997 the World Health Organization has recommended that it be important to keep the agents of all known prion diseases in the human food chain. "

The CDC also recommends that hunters take the following steps when hunting in areas of CWD," Being as safe as possible and reducing their potential exposure risk for CWD: "

  • Don't shoot, handle or eat meat from deer and elk that look sick or strange or are found dead as a roadkill.
  • When cultivating a deer or handling the meat, wear latex or rubber gloves.
  • Minimize how much you handle the animal's organs, especially brain or spinal cord tissue.
  • Do not use household knives or other kitchen utensils for field dressing.
  • Check the state's wildlife and public health guidelines to see if animal testing is recommended or required. Recommendations vary by state, but test information is available from many state wildlife agencies. (Pennsylvania Game Commission recommends testing of deer killed in known CWD areas of the state.)
  • Consider strongly having the deer or moose tested for CWD before eating the meat.
  • If you have your deer or elk commercially processed consider asking that your animal is treated individually to avoid mixing meat from multiple animals.
  • If your animal experiment is positive to the CWD, do not eat meat from that animal.

  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deer with chronic abrasive disease have been found in 24 states.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deer with chronic waste disease have been found in 24 states. Shutterstock

Also on its CWD website states: "From January 2019, free-deer, elk and / or elk CWD has been reported in at least 24 states in continental United States, as well as two provinces in Canada. CWD reported in pure and moose in Norway and Finland, and a small number of imported cases have been reported in South Korea. The disease has also been found in farmed deer and moose. "

Pennsylvania response

Pennsylvania became the 23rd state with a confirmed case of CWD on October 10, 2012, when test on tissue samples from captive deer at a New Oxford, Adams County, deer farm tested positive.

It led to the creation of Pennsylvania's first disease management area, which has since been eliminated.

Subsequent discoveries of the CWD in Pennsylvania led to the creation of 3 additional DMAs that remain in place: DMA 2, where CWD was recorded in several free deer in Bedford, Blair, Cambria and Fulton counties since 2012 and captured deer farms in Bedford, Franklin and Fulton counties in 2017; DMA 3 where it was found in 2 imprisoned deer farms in Jefferson County in 2014 and a free deer in Clearfield County in 2017; and DMA 4, where it was found in a captured deer at a plant in Lancaster County in 2018.

The CDC notes: "It is possible that CWD may also occur in other states without strong animal monitoring systems, but this is not the case. Once CWD is established in an area, the risk may remain in the environment for a long time. The affected areas are likely to continue to expand. "The CDC shows the CWD as caused by prions similar to that of the CWD. mad cow disease in cattle and scrapie in goats and sheep. Prions are "abnormal, pathogenic substances that can be transmitted and are capable of inducing abnormal folding of specific normal cellular proteins called prion proteins found mostly in the brain. The functions of these normal prion proteins are still not fully understood. The abnormal folding of the prion proteins leads to brain damage and the characteristic signs and symptoms of the disease. "

The brain aspect of CWD has caused some to refer to it as" zombie deer disease ".

Clinical signs of the disease include weight loss, excessive salivation, increased drinking and urination and abnormal behaviors such as stumbling, trembling and depression. Infected deer can also allow exceptionally close approach to humans or natural predators.

An alternative approach

In another recent CWD development, the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania, which has opposed the game's heart management program, commissioned at least the last 20 years a press conference on February 4 in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg to announce a financing effort to support an alternative research strategy to defeat CWD.

Most wildlife agencies and researchers believe that prions are the cause of the CWD and have tried to understand prions and deal with their impact on deer and other animals. But Frank Bastian, a clinical professor of neurosurgery and pathology and a professor of veterinary science at Louisiana State University, has researched bacteria known as spiroplasm as the cause of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) as CWD.

February 4, USP announced a 3-year, $ 100,000 pr. years entrepreneurial effort to speed up Bastian's work on spiroplasm, which was described as "the real cause of the CWD" by John Eveland, a wildlife biologist who was often cited by USP.

He said, "within possibly a year", the USP-supported project with Bastian will produce a diagnostic kit for hunters to use in the field to determine if deer they harvest have the CWD. After 2 years, Eveland said, the work will produce an injectable vaccine primarily for captive deer and elk. And in the third year, he projected that there would be an oral or nasal vaccine for wild deer and elk.

The National Deer Alliance, a coalition of national organizations that supports hunter-focused deer conservation over the US, was quick to respond to the USP message. The Alliance issued a statement by Krysten Schuler, a wildlife disease ecologist and co-director of the Cornell Wildlife Health Lab, who also serves on the NDA Board:

"There is an international agreement among scientific agencies, including the Centers for Disease Prevention and Prevention, These prions are considered to be the infectious agent that causes TSEs, viruses and bacteria are not supported as potential causes of TSE for a number of reasons including lack of immune response, resistance to normal disinfection procedures, environmental persistence for decades and years. Intensive Genetic Study. "

The Game Commission and the Department of Agriculture also responded to the USP Communication and explained that the two agencies" would like to point out that decades of research have provided ample evidence that prions or misfolded proteins are infectious agent for CWD, and this hypothesis is accepted by state agricultural and wildlife agencies throughout the United States. While there are alternative theories, they have not been thoroughly studied. "

At the press conference, Petroleum's Pete Kingsley said the organization donated $ 18,000 to the project and collected other donations from $ 20- $ 33,000.

He commented:" State gambling commissions across the country have tried to stop the disease b you shoot the deer the last 50 years plus and it has not worked and it will never. "

Nixing a deer reduction plan

In late January, the Pennsylvania Game Commission announced a deer reduction plan for a 100-square-mile area of ​​Bedford and Blair counties as part of a pilot project with the US Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services to reduce the impact of CWD in a hotspot and combat its spread

Less than 2 weeks later, the Commission announced that it had not received "the necessary support from landowners" in the 2 counties

Other phases of the project, including placing GPS collars on deer to study their movements and survival continues.

"And it is hoped that next year, awareness of the CWD and the threat posed by the disease to deer, and moose statewide will provide the necessary support locally to begin the phase of the project that has been put on hold, "said the Commissioner, noting that ne be some "isolated targeted removal operations in other areas where a solitary CWD positive deer has been discovered. "

" "While the lack of access to private land is unfortunate, it may well show that there is work to do when it comes to educating the public about the CWD and we will make our efforts to bring the facts about this disease and its potential impact on Pennsylvania to brighten the Bureau of Wildlife Management Director Matthew Schnupp.

"As it is now, the CWD has only been registered in a few parts of the state. Our pilot project in Bedford and Blair counties is carried out where the problem is worst, but hunters in most areas of the state have not had to work with the CWD in the deer, they are hunting or complying with the provisions aimed at slowing down the spread. "

Here's more about chronic waste disease in Pennsylvania:

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