The Statens Veterinarmedicinska Anstalt, or National Veterinary Institute of Sweden (SVA) reported this week (computer translated) on the first Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) case in a 16-year-old moose in Norrbotten County.


The animal was euthanized as it was walking in circles, emaciated and seemed to be blind.

Samples from the brainstem were positive in the screening test and confirmed positive for transmissible spongiform encephalopathy with Western Blot (BioRad TeSeE) by the SVA.

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This was not unexpected, says epidemiologist Maria Nöremark at the National Veterinary Institute (SVA). Similar cases on older moose have been found in Norway and in Finland. Much suggests that it may be spontaneous changes and not the infectious variant of the disease, and it was therefore a matter of time before we would find a case in Sweden.

CWD infects members of the deer family, including whitetail and mule deer, elk and moose.

CWD is a progressive, fatal disease of cervids that commonly results in altered behavior as a result of microscopic changes made to the brain of affected animals. An animal may carry the disease for years without outward indication, but in the latter stages, signs may include listlessness, lowering of the head, weight loss, repetitive walking in set patterns, and a lack of responsiveness.