Part of the book: Insights from Veterinary Medicine
Among the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), chronic wasting disease (CWD) in cervids is now the rising concern within Europe. CWD will be outlined in this chapter gathering its epidemiology, transmission, diagnosis, genetics, and control. Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative diseases characterized by the accumulation of an abnormal isoform of the prion protein (PrPc), usually designated by PrPsc or prion. CWD is a prion disease of natural transmission affecting cervids detected mainly in North America. The first European case was detected in Norway, in 2016, in a wild reindeer; until April 2018, a total of 23 cases were described. The definite diagnosis is postmortem, performed in target areas of the brain and lymph nodes. Samples are first screened using a rapid test and, if positive, confirmed by immunohistochemistry and Western immunoblotting. It is not possible to establish a culling plan based on the genotype, once affected animals appear with all genotypes. However, some polymorphisms seem to result in longer incubation periods or confer a reduced risk. The control is not easy in captive cervids and even more in the wildlife; some recommendations have been proposed in order to understand the danger and impact of CWD on animal and public health.
Part of the book: Wildlife Population Monitoring