Chronic wasting disease: 2,100 wild deer killed, no specimens affected

The MFFrelaxed its hunting conditions for the 2019 season in an enhanced surveillance zone (ZRS) covering 400 kmtwo around the Laurentian creation following the hatch.

The goal: to collect as many deer as possible to analyze samples, because the only way to detect the disease is to analyze a deer’s brain tissue or lymph nodes.

Map of the border region between the Outaouais and the Laurentians.

The reinforced surveillance zone covers an area of ​​400 square km (archives).

Photo: Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks

During the last hunting season – between September and November – 1,358 white-tailed deer were hunted in ZRS, but none of them had the disease. Same observation for the 750 animals slaughtered by government agents in 2018.

That said, these results do not mean that the disease does not occur in nature.

If present, only a few individuals may be carriers, making it even more difficult to detect.explained the biologist responsible for managing the great fauna of the Laurentians and Lanaudière in MFFYannick Bilodeau.

Yannick Bilodeau poses for the camera aboard a helicopter.

Yannick Bilodeau is the biologist responsible for the management of large fauna in the Laurentians and Lanaudière for the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks.

Photo: Courtesy of Yannick Bilodeau

Practices in Quebec, based on the success that New York State has had with similar measures, are an example to follow, according to Bryan Richards, a biologist at the Center for Wildlife Health. [USGS National Wildlife Health Center, NDLR].

From a scientific point of view, the more samples you give me, the more comfortable I am with the results of that sampling.observed Mr. Richards.

Having more samples is always better from an epidemiological point of view. »

a quote from Bryan Richards, a biologist at the Wildlife Health Center

Reduce population density

O MDC it is very contagious and certainly fatal to any infected animal, in addition to attacking all species of deer.

The authorities’ only recourse to limit its spread from one animal to another is therefore to reduce population density in a region where the disease has been detected.

A deer in the snow.

CWD is highly contagious and can remain in the environment for a long time (files).

Photo: Daniel Brassard

We achieve the desired goals. We wanted to bring deer densities to one deer per square kilometer, which was achievedobserved Mr. Bilodeau.

The present population was reduced to almost half. [dans la ZRS]. »

a quote from Yannick Bilodeau, biologist responsible for large fauna management for Laurentians and Lanaudière, Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks

As CWD can remain in the environment for a long time, the sooner you find it and the more intensively you manage it, the better your chances of eliminating the disease.underlined Mr. Richards, which also lists all the houses of MDC in North America.

A map of North America with dots and regions in different colors to illustrate the spread of chronic wasting disease in deer.

In this map updated in December 2019, the yellow dots represent the farms affected by the chronic wasting disease of deer where the animals were killed; red dots represent affected farms where animals are still present; the gray areas represent areas where the disease was detected in wild populations and the darker areas represent areas where the disease was detected in wild populations before 2000.

Photo: US Geological Survey – National Wildlife Health Center

The deer is a very hardy animal. So if given a chance and a few milder winters, its population will recover quickly.insisted on specifying the biologist.

even if he MFF analyzed a considerable number of white-tailed deer in the last season, vigilance will continue to be increased in the ZRS.

mois après son infection”,”text”:”On va maintenir l’échantillonnage dans ces secteurs-là dans les prochaines années parce que l’animal peut présenter des symptômes de 17 à 36mois après son infection”}}” lang=”fr”>We will continue to sample in these sectors for years to come, as the animal may show symptoms 17 to 36 months after its infection.argued Bilodeau, adding that it will also be necessary to ensure that a low population density is maintained in the coming years.

Hunting methods for the coming season will be dictated by winter’s impacts on the local deer population.

A deer walking in the snow turns to look into the camera lens.

Winter is a factor that can have a significant impact on white-tailed deer populations (archives).

Photo: Radio-Canada

However, hunters in the region are concerned about the repercussions of this intensive hunting to eradicate the disease. That’s still pretty deerunderlines Pierre Montreuil, a hunter for over 45 years.

Hunters, once again, we will pay the price, so we will have to make a sacrifice for populations to rise again.he explains. If we kill all the deer, we know it will take some time for the population to recover.

Death, the only remedy

Since the first documented cases of MDC in the 1960s, scientists failed to develop medical treatments for the disease.

What stops you from trading bullets and arrows for vaccine syringes is that the disease is caused by proteins, called prions, that are malformed.

Side view of two deer.  They look in the opposite direction.  They are standing in the snow.  Branches are seen in the background.

It is difficult to develop a vaccine against CWD, and little progress has been made in this direction since the 1960s (archives).

Photo: David Gilson

We all have prayers. The problem is developing a vaccine that attacks only the distorted version of the protein, not its normal form.explained Debbie McKenzie, an associate professor of biology at the University of Alberta who specializes in the study of MDC.

So you end up with something like an autoimmune disease if you develop a vaccine that attacks your own normal proteins. »

a quote from Debbie McKenzie, associate professor of biology at the University of Alberta

Cattle are still contaminated

If the disease does not appear to have fallen into the wild, according to the data currently available, the farm where it all started remains a highly dangerous area.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said in an email in December that MDC avaient séjourné sont hautement contaminés”,”text”:”les quatre terrains où les onze cervidés trouvés positifs à la MDC avaient séjourné sont hautement contaminés”}}” lang=”fr”>the four plots where the eleven deer were positive for MDC were left are highly contaminated. In addition, no timetable for the work has been established.

Image of posters at the entrance to the red deer breeding farm in Grenville-sur-la-Rouge.

The red deer breeding farm in Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, where the first cases were identified in 2018 (archives).

Photo: Radio-Canada / Denis Babin

The mayor of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, Tom Arnold, is particularly upset about the situation. He believes that the authorities do the right thing killing the animals, but hopes the work will be done soon.

However, the municipality chose to change its regulations to restrict reproduction [de cerfs] to protect your territory.

Tom Arnold interviewed.  Behind him, a lamp stands on a fireplace.

Tom Arnold hopes the results are still conclusive for the upcoming hunting season.

Photo: Radio-Canada

I’CFIA explained that soil can be decontaminated by removing a topsoil in strategic locations to be buried on site or at an authorized location.

This is a widespread practice, but one that can pose risks of propagation, believes American biologist Bryan Richards, because contaminated soil can easily end up inadvertently in the environment when it is moved. A very small amount of prions can give a deer CWDhe warned.

I’CFIA also clarified that deer farming will never be allowed again.

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