Innovation Anthology

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Program ID: Innovation Anthology #876
Program Date: 06/13/2017
Program Category: Alberta, Health and Medicine, Prions, Wildlife, Women in Science

Dr Evelyn Merrill: Vaccine and Hunting May Manage CWD

Chronic Wasting Disease has currently spread to about 3 percent of Alberta's deer population and is poised to go higher.

Dr. Evelyn Merrill is a University of Alberta biologist studying the disease in mule deer.

And one issue of concern is what can be done to manage its spread.

DR EVELYN MERRILL: Right now we hope that we can come up with a vaccine.  But it doesn't seem like that despite some early hope on the development of vaccine, it doesn't seem to be in the immediate future.  And even for free ranging populations, vaccines are very difficult and actually quite costly to dispense, because you have to get the animals to actually eat it, or you would have to inject them.  And that's pretty invasive.  So vaccines don't seem to be a tool that's going to be in our toolbox in the next few years.  Keeping populations lower, mostly through harvest management, letting hunters do the job, I think is what the Alberta Fish and Wildlife is really looking to in the future. 

Dr Merrill is also involved in a study on genotyping resistance in deer to CWD.


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