Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) identified in a wild reindeer at Hardanger Plateau

On Thursday evening 10th of September, the Norwegian Veterinary Institute notified the Norwegian Food Safety Authority of a confirmed case of CWD in a wild reindeer shot during the ordinary hunt on the Hardanger plateau in central southern Norway. Material from a lymph node tested positive, while brain tissue was negative.

This is the first case of classical CWD in reindeer identified outside the Nordfjella zone 1, where the disease was first detected in 2016. At that time, the Nordfjella zone 1 wild reindeer population was culled to avoid the possibility of the disease spreading further. In Norway, this classical type of CWD has previously only been detected in wild reindeer from Nordfjella zone 1.

Two types of CWD prions have been identified in Norway. In wild reindeer, this prion seems to be contagious (classical CWD) as opposed to seven cases in moose and one red deer where it has probably occurred spontaneously in older animals (atypical CWD). CWD is a deadly prion disease for cervids, but has never been detected in humans. 

This last CWD positive wild reindeer was shoot in the south part of Hardangervidda in Vinje municipality.

Hardangervidda is Northern Europe's most extensive mountain plateau and Norway's largest wild reindeer area with around 8000 to 10 000 animals.

Since 2016, more than 100,000 cervids have been tested for CWD in Norway. From Hardangervidda, 3520 wild reindeer have been tested and found to be CWD negative. Of these, 518 have been tested already in 2020 without positive findings.

For more information, please consult our statistics here (in Norwegian) 

For more information about CWD and surveillance reports, please visit our CWD page here (in English) 

Jørn Våge

Seniorforsker vilthelse, skrantesyke/CWD-koordinator
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