All sporting agents, hunters and guides are urged to make sure they and their hunting clients and guests are well aware of the risks of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
The British Deer Society is publicising new guidance to help stop CWD’s spread, after the risk level to the UK increased when several instances of the disease were confirmed in Norway. This supersedes any previous guidance that was in place.
CWD is fatal in deer, highly infectious and belongs to the same group of diseases as scrapie and BSE. It is spread through contact with deer body fluids and parts. It is not thought to pose a health risk to humans, but if CWD spreads to the UK, it could result in disruption to stalking, restrictions on the sale of venison, problems for deer farming and the death of large numbers of the wild deer population.
Key to the BDS’s new guidance is the stipulation that it is almost impossible to thoroughly sterilise potentially contaminated kit and clothing – so visiting hunters are strongly encouraged to consider leaving behind or disposing of what cannot be completely sanitised.
In addition, Brits travelling abroad must be aware of biosecurity risks, especially the risks of transporting CWD when visiting the USA, Canada or Scandinavia. Meticulous cleaning of clothing, equipment and footwear to remove all debris should reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of introducing disease into this country. Ultimately, borrowing kit when you are abroad, and not taking it back home, is the only way to eliminate the risk.