Ontario To Conduct Pilot CWD Test

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The province will implement a pilot surveillance program for chronic wasting disease, by testing a number of hunter-killed deer this year, Natural Resources Minister Jerry Ouellette announced today.

"There are no known cases of chronic wasting disease in Ontario but we must be vigilant about the health of our wildlife," said Ouellette. "Conducting this testing is an important first step in ensuring our readiness should the disease ever be found here."

The Ministry of Natural Resources will conduct the pilot testing in November. Ministry wildlife research technicians will take a small amount of tissue from deer harvested by resident hunters. Samples will be analysed at the Animal Health Laboratory at the University of Guelph, and hunters will be notified of the test results.

As well, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food is working with industry and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to reduce the risk of chronic wasting disease in Ontario by conducting disease surveillance in farmed deer and elk.

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal disease of the nervous system of deer and elk. It has been detected in some US states, as well as in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The Ministry of Natural Resources continues to work with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Canadian Co-operative Wildlife Health Centre to monitor developments on chronic wasting disease.