Chronic Wasting Disease
Help Prevent Chronic Wasting Disease from Infecting B.C. Deer
B.C. wildlife biologists are calling on hunters, especially in the Peace and East Kootenay, to help monitor for chronic wasting disease (CWD), a deadly infection that affects the central nervous of cervids - members of the deer family.
The disease is widespread in the Canadian prairies and is moving west toward the B.C. border. The B.C. Wildlife Health Program has been monitoring for CWD since 2002 and has yet to find an infected animal in this province.
For the current distribution of CWD in North America see the latest USGS map.
The disease is caused by an abnormal protein called a prion. These prions are transmitted through infected saliva, urine, feces, even plants and soil. Signs of infection in deer include weight loss, poor coordination, stumbling and trembling.
While it is similar to bovine spongiform encephalopathy - the so-called mad cow disease – there is no direct evidence that CWD can be transmitted to humans. That said, as a precaution, any animal suspected or confirmed to have CWD should not be eaten.
Hunters are asked to bring deer, moose and elk heads to drop off location (below) for testing. Meanwhile, anyone encountering a sick deer exhibiting the symptoms of CWD (thin, drooling, poor coordination, stumbling) should report it to the provincial Wildlife Health Program.
For results on CWD testing in B.C. see CWD Information for Hunters (PDF).
Drop off locations across B.C.
Any B.C. Wildlife or Conservation Officer Service office (during business hours).
Additional locations in high risk areas:
- North Peace Rod and Gun Club, Fort St John
- Peace Taxidermy, Hwy 29
- Richard's Meat, Pouce Coupe
- Gwinner's Country Butcher, Kimberley
- Rick’s Fine Meats, Cranbrook
- Wes's Country Meats, Fernie
Know the Risks
If you hunt in areas that CWD affects wild deer, do not bring an intact carcass or any high risk tissues (brain, spinal cord, lymph nodes, organs) back to B.C. This is prohibited by law (BC CWD Regulation). Human importation of infected tissue is the highest threat of introduction to B.C. wildlife.