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A Pandemic with Severe Consequences is Spreading Throughout Canada

With hunting season is upon us, so emerges one of the greatest threats hunters and wildlife have ever faced... Chronic wasting disease (CWD)

In many provinces hunters are encouraged to get their game heads tested for CWD.

CWD is a deadly disease that attacks wildlife and affects the focal sensory system with no cure.

During the last hunting season in Saskatchewan alone we saw an an additional 1,300 entries to the provincial government's CWD observation program from 2,000 submitted game heads to the year prior.

The program identified 528 positive cases, including deer, elk and moose. In 2018-19, there were 349 positive cases identified in the province of Saskatchewan. This signifies an increase of almost 45% in a single year.

“Without a doubt the numbers have increased as far as positives, but we additionally tested more game” said Matt Roberts, a wildlife health specialist.

"In the event that you take a look at the level of positives in the game that had CWD … they remained equivalent.” The rate is around 17 percent in 2019 and about 17.5 percent in the year prior.

Authorities said CWD was at first recognized in Saskatchewan in 1996 and in a deer four years later. It is now recognized and tracked in 55 of Saskatchewan's 83 wildlife direction zones.

Ministries are taking a shot at some unique control systems as far as possible transmission of the infection to new species and regions.

"In terms of carrion we know there's a high commonness in specific regions. We would need to lessen the availability of carrion in those zones," Roberts said.

"We're urging hunters to quarter their game on site and leave the more infected material behind. We are hoping that doing so would possibly help prevent moving infected game to other zones."

There were around 107,000 hunting licenses sold in 2019 which is a normal number to have and hasn’t increased or decreased by much.

How CWD Affects Animals

"I believe it's extremely significant for hunters to get their game heads tested to see whether they have CWD. On the off chance that the creature is tested positive, we urge hunters NOT to consume their game," Roberts said.

"We're extremely content with the amount of hunters participating in the support program so far… we really need as many samples as possible to have the option to identify the positive game in other zones. With this goal in mind we truly are focusing on pushing for good samples in a large number of these zones."

Game heads can be submitted for testing at drop-off areas over the territory. A human instance of CWD has never been recognized to date, but many scientists believe it could just be a matter of time...