This article was first published 04.04.2016
"The sick female reindeer (Rangifer tarandus
The body condition of the reindeer was below medium, but it still had some adipose tissue left. In cervids older than 18 months, we routinely collect brain samples for examination as part of the national surveillance program for CWD, and that was also done in this reindeer," Vikøren continues.
The head of the Norwegian Reference Laboratory for animal prion diseases at the NVI, Sylvie Benestad, states that the brain sample from the reindeer tested positive for the detection of prions both by the first routine test (ELISA) and in two supplementary tests (Western Blotting, Immunohistochemistry).
CWD is a contagious neurological disease that attacks the brain of cervids. CWD belongs to a group of diseases known as Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs), in which the infectious agents are known to be the prion protein, a normal protein that misfolds and destroys the brain. The development of the disease is slow and affected cervids show loss of body condition and altered behavior. Death is inevitable once clinical disease occurs.
CWD is an endemic disease in North America, in which natural infections occur in mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), white-tailed deer (O.
The NVI will take the initiative with follow-up surveys of this disease in Norway's wild reindeer populations.
Updated 19.04.2016. Nature has written a news story based on our detection of CWD.