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Program ID: Innovation Anthology #875
Program Date: 06/08/2017
Program Category: Alberta, Health and Medicine, Prions, Wildlife, Women in Science

Dr Evelyn Merrill: Tracking Mule Deer For CWD

Since its appearance in the mid 2000's, Chronic Wasting Disease has been spreading slowly west from the Saskatchewan-Alberta border.

 CWD is a fatal prion disease that attacks deer, elk and other cervids.

University of Alberta researcher Dr Evelyn Merrill is studying mule deer, to better understand how the disease is transmitted between animals and through the environment.

DR EVELYN MERRILL:    And so for this study, we have actually put on some radio collars that record when two animals come within close proximity to each other.  With those collars, when we are trying to look at the seasonal rates of contacts, how the environment such as dispersion of the trees or different habitat such as open agricultural fields, might affect the contact rates And really to quantify that seasonally so we can make some predictions in which environments we might see it transmitted faster.

 Dr Merrill will track the deer by satellite and develop a model that can help predict the spread of chronic wasting disease.


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