CWD

11/26/2017

In the last 40 years, numerous hotspots of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has appeared in areas of North America. It went unnoticed at first, but in the last 20 years it has been a nursery for journalists’ stories. It involves the erratic and progressively debilitating behavior of Cervid ungulates (deer, elk, and moose). The end result is death. lts cause has been traced to prions, an abnormal form of cellular proteins. Being able to slip past the immune system because of its tiny size, it converts normal cellular protein of the central nervous system to an aberrant form which in turn causes spongiform encephalopathy (sponge brain). The source of this elusive trigger slowly came into view in the 1990’s. It was an indirect response to MADD (MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING). It seems America has had nearly a century long love affair with drinking and driving. Consuming beer while hurling down the highways was a given right until the late 70’s, when a movement to remove the impaired drivers from the roads showed up as a huge influx of revenue. Drunk driver laws caused a behavior change in the guilty and soon all the empty beer containers were being thrown out the window. The scrap price of aluminum dropped and being pulled over with a car full of vacant beer cans was pretty incriminating, hence they were jettisoned. In newer cars, due to lower profiles to decrease drag and improve mileage, one could never remove all the liquid from the alcohol dispenser, because it would hit the roof of the vehicle when tipped up. Therefore, the discarded receptacles would have an ounce or so of delicious brew in it and the unsuspecting, roadside deer took an instant liking to slurping the suds. The deer do not have a 5000-year history of drinking beer like the humans do. Due to conditioning and genetics, humans get CHRONIC WASTED DISEASE for one night and the effects go away in a day. You will soon see fatal CWD rates disappear for deer and other ungulates in a mere 4,960 years. 

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