B.C. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Program

Of Interest

The B.C. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Program is led by the Ministry of Environment Wildlife Health Program, and supported by a wide group of provincial and federal agencies and B.C. residents who are concerned about this important disease. Program initiatives and activities continue in response to heightened awareness from new positive cases in deer and Elk in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The B.C. CWD Program focuses on prevention of CWD introduction to B.C. through early detection of the disease, education and outreach to the B.C. hunting community to ensure that CWD does not become a problem for deer species in British Columbia.

NOTE! B.C. Chronic Wasting Disease Risk Assessment (PDF 664KB)

The Facts

  • CWD is a “prion” disease that infects the central nervous system
  • The only species susceptible to CWD are members of the Deer Family (aka: Cervids)
  • CWD has been found in Mule Deer, White-tailed Deer, Elk and Moose
  • CWD is not transmissible to other ungulates or domestic animals by natural means
  • There is no evidence that CWD is transmissible to humans
  • Transmission occurs through animal contact and contact with CWD contaminated soils
  • CWD is fatal in all cases; there is no treatment or vaccine.
  • CWD is not a naturally occurring disease
  • Once CWD is established it is very difficult to contain and manage
  • Prevention is the key!
Roosevelt Elk - T.Hall

B.C. does not have CWD but better surveillance (increased number of samples) is needed to support this statement. The CWD Program samples heads from hunter harvested, road-killed deer, Elk and Moose as well as those that are thin or sick from anywhere in the province - but those from the Peace and East Kootenay areas are of highest priority.

Find out what you can do to help (172KB PDF)

For information on other CWD Programs, and to find out where CWD is found, please also visit:

Alberta Program http://srd.alberta.ca/BioDiversityStewardship/WildlifeDiseases/Default.aspx

Saskatchewan Program

CWD Alliance http://www.cwd-info.org/

For more info on CWD please contact: The B.C. CWD Program (250) 953-5140