NPI seminar: Prions and Chronic wasting disease in wild reindeer in Norway - what do we know and what can we do?

Morten Tryland

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) was diagnosed for the first time in Europe and in  Rangifer, in a wild reindeer in Nordfjella, Norway, April 2016. During regular hunt (2016-2017) and culling (2017) another five wild reindeer from Nordfjella has been diagnosed with CWD. The wild reindeer management zones of Nordfjella border in the north to a herd of semi-domesticated reindeer and in the south to Hardangervidda, which is hosting our largest wild reindeer population, and animals are observed moving between these three reindeer populations. CWD is caused by a prion. The disease was diagnosed for the first time in a mule deer in Coloroado (USA) in the late 1960ies and has since spread to 24 states and to four Canadian provinces. Experimental inoculations of reindeer revealed an incubation period of 18-24 months. CWD is causing reduced production, wasting and CNS symptoms, can be transmitted between different cervid species, can not be treated and is always fatal. There is no immunity, meaning there will be no herd immunity over time, and vaccination is not possible. Further, there is uncertainty wether CWD-prions can cause disease in humans. What do we know after more than 40 years of experience in North America, and what can we do to eliminate the disease agent or restrict its impact among Norwegians cervids?