‘Zombie deer disease’ has spread to 2 provinces and 24 states – National

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An infectious disease often referred to as “zombie deer disease” has shown up in two Canadian provinces and at least 24 states, the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned, with a potential risk it could spread to humans.


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Symptoms of chronic wasting disease (CWD) for animals include stumbling, lack of coordination, drooling, drooping ears, aggression, listlessness, drastic weight loss, excessive thirst or urination, and lack of fear of people.

The disease belongs to a family of diseases called prion diseases, which includes the human form of “mad cow disease.”

CWD was first identified in the late 1960s in Colorado and has spread since 2000.

WATCH: Mad cow disease case confirmed in northern Alberta







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There have been no reported cases of the disease in people, but studies have shown that CWD can pose a risk to non-human primates, such as monkeys, that eat meat from CWD-infected animals or come in contact with their body fluids, according to CDC.

CDC says experimental studies “raise the concern that CWD may pose a risk to people and suggest that it is important to prevent human exposures to CWD.”

The disease generally transmits between animals through body fluids and has been found to be contagious within deer and elk populations.


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If it were spread to people, it would most likely be through eating infected deer or elk, but CDC says it is not known if people can get infected with CWD.

Currently, the disease occurs in free-range deer and elk at relatively low rates, but in areas where it is established the infection rate may exceed 10 per cent and localized infection rates of more than 25 per cent have been reported, according to CDC.

Infection rates in captive deer have been higher, with a rate of 79 per cent reported from at least one captive herd.

CDC recommends hunters test animals for CWD before eating them in areas where the disease is known to be present, and to not shoot or handle meat from deer that look strange or are acting strangely.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Red Deer excited as 2019 Canada Winter Games begin

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The mood around Red Deer is electric as the community gets set for day one of competition at the 2019 Canada Winter Games, according to the event’s lead official.

“We had just an unbelievable opening ceremonies last night to a full house and an excited group of athletes from across the country,” Scott Robinson, the CEO of the Games, said in an interview Saturday on Global News Morning.

“We’re ready to get going.”

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The Games kicked off Saturday morning with a slate of table tennis matches at Westerner Park. The last competition is scheduled to be held on March 2, with the closing ceremonies taking place the next day.

More than 3,600 athletes, coaches and managers will take part in the 17-day event, according to organizers. The young athletes will face off in 19 different sports.


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Robinson said that the event helps develop youth athletes in Canada because the competition is set up similar to the Olympic Games.

“They stay in an athlete’s village, they’re all competing in their various sports, but they’re also part of a bigger team with the other sports in their province,” Robinson said.

“They really get a taste of what the next level looks like.”

However, athletics aren’t the only part of the event, according to Robinson. He pointed out that there is a major arts and cultural festival going on throughout the Games in downtown Red Deer.

“We’ve actually built a beautiful celebration plaza that was part of our capital projects to create a celebration space in downtown Red Deer,” Robinson said.

“We’ve got some major entertainment acts coming here over the next two weeks to entertain the people from Red Deer and of course from across Canada that are here to celebrate these Games.”

The downtown plaza is one of a number of projects and renovations that was made in preparation for the Games. The event also spurred the construction of the $88-million Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.


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The last Canada Games were held in Winnipeg, Man., while the 2021 edition of the event will be held in Ontario’s Niagara region.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘They’re not going to leave on their own:’ Penticton neighbourhood requests deer cull

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Residents of a manufactured home park in Penticton, B.C., are calling on the City of Penticton to approve a deer cull in their neighbourhood.

Park residents Nick Iannone and Robert Cartwright are spearheading the campaign and will make their case before a committee-of-the-whole meeting on Tuesday.

Iannone said urban deer are wreaking havoc on Figueira’s Manufactured Home Park on Yorkton Avenue by damaging landscaping and littering yards with feces.

“They did close to $8,000 [in damage]. We did a survey with everybody in the park, just for plants, roses etc.,” he said.


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The park is located on the edge of the city and is home to seniors over 55 years of age.

Cartwright said the hungry ungulates chomp on his peach tree, rendering it useless.

“With the deer that are here, they are resident deer, they are urban deer and they’re not going to leave on their own. And deer-proofing, we’ve tried it all,” he said.

Residents say they’ve tried to solve the issue with deer repellents and landscaping alternatives, but to no avail.

WATCH MORE: In 2017, A group of Kelowna residents were gathering signatures on a petition to have the City cull deer that they say are damaging their neighbourhoods.






The pair argue the buck stops at city hall. They are calling for drastic action to eliminate the problem.

“We’re hoping we can get a permit, but it has to go through the city, and some type of cull,” Iannone said.

The City of Penticton has not been supportive of calls for deer culls over the past decade, but Iannone is optimistic the new mayor and council will champion the cause.

“They already know what’s going on and I think as a new council it would be a great opportunity to get something started,” he said.

The residents want the municipality to apply for provincial funding to implement the cull.


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A factsheet on urban deer management in B.C., which is available on the B.C. government website, said the province launched an urban deer management program in 2016. The program provides $100,000 each year to help fund community-based deer management projects.

The factsheet said population reduction strategies include lethal removal by culls, but deer carcasses must be harvested and the meat donated to charitable groups.

Wildlife experts advise that capturing deer in a collapsible clover trap and euthanizing them with a bolt gun is the safest, most efficient and most humane method of deer control in urban areas.

Cartwight said whether it is translocation or euthanization, “they have to be removed from the park.”

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources said it is aware of the resident deer concerns and “will continue to be in contact with local government and residents.”

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