The Jackson Hole News & Guide has a piece today (the first in a two-part series) by Cory Hatch about chronic wasting disease research in Wyoming, and the threats and uncertainties that surround it.
Since the mid-90s, when researchers first diagnosed CWD as endemic to the southeast corner of Wyoming, surveillance efforts have tracked the disease as it inched its way west across the state. [Researcher Terry] Kreeger and his colleagues agree, it’s only a matter of time before CWD finds its way to 23 winter feedgrounds in northwest Wyoming, including the National Elk Refuge.
What happens then is hotly debated. Cousins to chronic wasting disease – including mad cow disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Kuru, to name a few – have caused panic in international livestock markets and led to human deaths in the United States and abroad. Though scientists have never linked CWD to human illness, nobody is certain how hunters will react to an outbreak.