The ministry of environment declared Chronic Wasting disease to be active in the Melfort area last week
The case was found in a 3 ½ year old elk, and is the 34th case found this year.
Dr. Iga Stasiak with the provincial environment ministry said cervid farmers should take precaution.
“You’re going to be seeing animals in poor body condition, and that’s going to affect your business,” Stasiak said. “And from a wildlife perspective, it’s a very serious concern because we know that when CWD gets to a certain prevalence or level in the population, it starts to cause population decline.”
CWD is only known to affect cervid animals including deer, moose, elk, and caribou.
Stasiak said the ministry is developing a management plan to try and limit the disease.
“That’s going to be focused on a number of different aspects, so one thing that’s going to be really important is reaching out to hunters and working with them on a number of different initiatives,” Stasiak said. “Things like movement of animal carcasses, proper disposal.”
Stasiak there are no known cases in humans.
“With that said, we know this disease has a very long incubation period,” Stasiak said. “It is from the same family as Mad Cow Disease, it’s not the same as Mad Cow Disease, but precautionary measures are recommended, so we do recommend hunters take precautions, and they avoid eating animals that are known to be infected.”
Hunters are encouraged to turn suspect animal heads into the CWD surveillance program.