September Program

September 11, 2019

Date: Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Time and Location: 7:00 PM, Kalispell Fish,
Wildlife and Parks Public Meeting Room

Program: FWP Information Officer Dillon Tabish and FWP Regional Wildlife Manager Neil Anderson will talk about the recent discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease in whitetail deer around Libby and how this could impact our hunting heritage.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a transmittable, degenerative disease in deer, elk and moose that is always fatal. CWD is caused by an abnormal protein called a prion that causes normal proteins in infected cells to mis-fold and accumulate, particularly in the nervous system and lymph glands. This eventually leads to fatal nerve and brain damage over 18 to 24 months. Infected animals show a loss of cognition and coordination and a loss of body condition (wasting). Many infected animals are killed by predators or vehicles before severe symptoms are obvious.

CWD is spread by direct contact with infected animals, contact with bodily fluids such as urine and feces or contact with infected carcasses. Prions can remain active for years and may be taken up in plants to infect grazers. There is no known treatment or vaccine for CWD. CWD is in a group of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalies (TSE) including scrapies in sheep, bovine spongiform encephalopy (mad cow disease) in cattle and Creutzfeld-Jakob disease in humans. CWD has not been shown to infect humans but it is recommended to not eat infected animals and dispose of them in landfills.

CWD has been documented in 27 states, 3 Canadian provinces and Norway, Finland and South Korea. Montana has been surveying for CWD since 1998, CWD was first documented in a game farm near Phillipsburg in 1999 but quarantine appears to have contained that. CWD was found in SE Montana in 2017, NE Montana in 2018 and in Libby in 2019. Following are good sources of information on CWD.