Innovation Anthology

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Program ID: Innovation Anthology #874
Program Date: 06/06/2017
Program Category: Alberta, Health and Medicine, Wildlife, Women in Science

Dr Evelyn Merrill: Chronic Wasting Disease

Dr. Evelyn Merrill is a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta.

She's one of the researchers at the forefront of studying Chronic Wasting Disease in deer, elk and other cervids.

Chronic Wasting Disease was first  detected in Alberta along the Saskatchewan border in the mid 2000's and it's slowly moving west.

DR EVELYN MERRILL: It's what's called a TSE or a Transmissable Spongiform Encephalopathy.  And basically what that means is a nervous system disorder.  What you will see in the clinical signs is that a deer will essentially lose weight, it's head will droop down, its ears and eyes will be like you know its sick.  It will salivate quite a bit.  And eventually 100 percent, if they get it, they will die.  It's transmitted both animal to animal and through the environment.  So there are many routes through which one animal can infect another.  But we really don't know at this point what the major route is. 

Dr Merrill says prions excreted into the environment can last for decades.


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