In DepthWildlife Biology

Norway seeks to stamp out prion disease

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  07 Apr 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6333, pp. 12-13
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6333.12

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

A year after a deadly and highly contagious wildlife disease surfaced in Norway, the country is taking action. Chronic wasting disease (CWD), caused by misfolded proteins called prions, has ravaged deer and elk in North America, costing rural economies millions in lost revenue from hunting. Its presence in Norway's reindeer and moose—the first cases in Europe—threatens a source of food and traditions. Last week, Norway's minister of agriculture and food agreed to have hunters kill off the entire herd in which three infected individuals were found, about 2000 reindeer, or nearly 6% of the country's wild population. The deer's habitat will be quarantined for at least 5 years to prevent reinfection. The odds of a successful eradication, experts say, will depend largely on how long CWD has been present in Norway. In the coming hunting season, agencies will check for CWD in other parts of the country. In January, the European Food Safety Authority recommended that seven nearby countries begin their own surveillance.