Hoping to preserve healthy wild reindeer herds in Norway

Wild Reindeer herds chronic wasting disease CWDReindeer. Photo: pixabay.com

Hoping to preserve healthy wild reindeer herds in Norway

The veterinary institute has up to now tested 30,000 deer for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Low finds of the disease give hope of preserving healthy wild reindeer herds.


The results of the tests in Nordfjella so far show few cases of CWD.

CWD is a prion disease like scrapie in sheep or mad cow disease, and it causes great suffering and death to animals affected.

“The results give hope to preserve healthy wild deer in Norway,” says CWD coordinator Jørn Våge at the Veterinary Institute in a press release.

The researchers at the Veterinary Institute believe that important lessons can be learned from the 30,000 samples that have now been analyzed since the discovery of the disease last year.

Must get rid of the infection

The spread of CWD among wild deer in Nordfjella is about 1 per cent, as the researchers estimated it would be. This was the basis for advising on the culling of wild deer in the area, something several protested strongly against.

– That the prevalence so far appears to be as horecast in Nordfjella, and that the findings outside the area seem to be another type of CWD, so we still have the hope to prevent the disease seen in wild deeer from gaining a foothold in Norway. this requires that we remove the infection. Dropping this attempt will be to give up the idea of future healthy deer herds, “says Våge.

He emphasizes that the longer time we spend on removing the infected deer from Nordfjella, the greater the chance of it spreading out of the area, and then the situation becomes even more difficult to handle.

13 confirmed to be infected

The veterinary institute confirmed last week that an adult reindeer bull that was felled in Nordfjella was infected by the lethal disease.

This was the 13th animal with confirmed CWD in Norway, but the Norwegian Food Safety Authority expects that the figure will rise as the state led culling in Nordfjella continues.


– I am impressed by the pace the Veterinary Institute has managed to keep. Rapid test responses are important for the tests against CWD not to create major practical challenges for hunters and slaughterhouses, “says Minister of Agriculture and Food, Jon Georg Dale.

Tests of deer make up the largest sampling program since the mad cow disease was at its most intense 15 years ago. Each morning, sample material was submitted to the Veterinary Institute for analysis. Samples from 10,000 animals were analyzed in 2016 and so far in 2017, 20,000 animals have been tested. The record for one day has so far been 963 samples.


©  NTB Scanpix / Norway Today