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Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer

Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is highly infectious and has devastating effects on both wild and farmed deer.

BDS is campaigning hard, along with other organisations, to keep CWD out of the UK by promoting awareness of the issue at border control points.

We encourage visitors to the UK to be vigilant about the cleanliness and biosecurity of outdoor equipment. While the highest risks appears to be with those engaged in sporting shooting, anyone hiking or camping in infected areas has the potential to bring back infection on dirty boots, clothes or equipment. 

Latest information on this issue.

What is the risk of a cervid TSE being introduced from Norway into Great Britain? Qualitative Risk Assessment - pdf Read Report (1.40 MB)

Chronic Wasting Disease – The situation in America, Norway, and the UK - pdf Read Report (224 KB)

pdf CWD update (462 KB)  -  pdf Click here (462 KB)

CWD Research – DNA Samples Supplied for CWD Research Project

The EU has determined that a pan European EU surveillance system to monitor deer populations to detect any fresh cases is required. One of the most significant questions is how susceptible are our deer to CWD? Will they succumb rapidly, or slowly?

The BDS is engaging in a research project to perform DNA typing of deer found in Britain to establish the extent of their susceptibility to CWD. This will assist with “modelling” how CWD might develop in the UK should it ever arrive.

Working with BDS members, Amy Robinson of the Roslin Institute has been analysing over 1,000 deer tissue samples in an effort to identify possible resistance to CWD. The research is continuing and results will be published soon.


BDS Leaflet on preventing the spread of CWD.

The British Deer Society has a leaflet aimed at hunters and sporting agents containing important recommendations to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

The updated advice replaces previous guidance and follows an increase in risk level to the UK with the announcement of three cases of the disease in Norway. CWD has previously mainly been found in North America. Sporting agents, hosts, and guides are urged to make sure all guests to the UK are aware of the risks and take steps to ensure that their equipment is suitably clean to minimise the risk of spreading the disease. All those visiting areas at risk of infection, especially for hunting purposes, must appreciate that it is almost impossible to thoroughly sterilise potentially contaminated kit and clothing so are strongly encouraged to consider leaving behind or disposing of what cannot be completely sanitised.

  pdf View the press release  (117 KB)

  View the Chronic Wasting Disease leaflet 

BDS Report on CWD

BDS report: Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a Transmissible Spongiform Encephalitis (TSE) of deer - An overview of the situation from the UK perspective - Read Report 

Please click on the sub-menus on the left for information on CWD in the UK, and in Norway. 

Supporting information

An article explaining the scientific advances in analysis of prions causing BSE
pdf The Law about Deer Urine (9 KB)
Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance  - An Alliance of organisations with latest information & mapping from the US - visit their website
pdf Useful information on CWD from the US

(61 KB)