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Monday, January 29 • 1:20pm - 1:40pm
SYMPOSIA-03: Five Decades (or More) of Chronic Wasting Disease: Lessons Learned

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AUTHORS. John R. Fischer, Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study; Michael W. Miller, Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife

ABSTRACT. Chronic wasting disease (CWD), an infectious prion disease of at least five North American cervid species, has run the gamut from minor scientific curiosity to national crisis since the syndrome’s first recognition in the late 1960s. As of September 2017, CWD has been reported in captive and/or free-ranging cervids in the United States (24 states), Canada (three provinces), South Korea, and Norway. With few exceptions (New York and perhaps Minnesota), once in the wild the disease has persisted despite widely varied control attempts. Natural and anthropogenic factors have contributed to the geographic spread and persistence of CWD: Natural factors include prolonged incubation, multiple routes of agent shedding, the agent’s environmental persistence, and migratory and dispersal movements of wild cervids. Anthropogenic factors include movements of infected live animals (and perhaps infectious tissues and other materials), concentrating susceptible host species, and other artificial wildlife management practices. Many facets of CWD biology and ecology now are well understood, but science informing effective management and control strategies remains incomplete. Eradicating CWD appears infeasible given its extensive distribution and other epidemiological attributes. Regardless, adaptive approaches for containing foci and reducing infection and transmission rates have shown some promise and deserve further attention. Such pursuits undoubtedly will be difficult to champion and garner support for in sociopolitical climates ranging from apathetic to combative, particularly when control prescriptions impinge upon or conflict with commercial and sport hunting interests. We believe there are two important motivations for making progress toward sustainable detection, containment, and control strategies for CWD in the coming decades: Data from several sources suggest heavily-infected wild cervid populations will not thrive in the long-term, and, data on CWD prions and experience with other animal prion diseases suggest minimizing human exposure to these agents is prudent.

Monday January 29, 2018 1:20pm - 1:40pm
102B