Is a Miracle Cure for CWD on the Horizon?
By: Dr. Dave Samuel
Recently, the Internet has been buzzing with questions about the seriousness of chronic wasting disease (CWD). For long-time readers, you know I’m a data guy, and the data are quite clear on just how serious this disease is.
A 2018 Wisconsin study showed that CWD-positive deer had an annual mortality rate of 69 percent, while those that were CWD-negative had an annual mortality rate of 35 percent. This begs the question, why are people not finding dead deer lying around in the woods? The mortality study I’ve just cited used GPS radio collars, so that when a deer died, the signal stopped moving and the researchers went in and determined the cause of mortality. Some were shot in hunting seasons, some starved, some got pneumonia, some were killed by predators, and some were hit by cars. No matter what the cause, deer with CWD died at almost twice the rate as deer without CWD.
One other study was done in Wyoming. I mentioned it in my March 2017 column, and it showed 68-percent annual deaths for CWD deer and only 24 percent for deer without CWD. Will real data appease the Facebook “experts” who think the states are overreacting to CWD? Probably not, but data don’t lie.
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