Worm infests Wyoming Moose

May infect as many as 50% of Wyoming moose

In 2008 a moose was discovered in the Star Valley that suffered from both Chronic Wasting Disease and a carotid artery worm, Elaeophora schneideri. It now turns out that up to 50% of the population may have the worm but the true extent of the effects are unknown. The worm is transmitted by the bite of a horsefly which tend to do well under hot and dry conditions.

Worm infests area Moose
Jackson Hole News & Guide.

3 Responses to “Worm infests Wyoming Moose”

  1. Nancy Says:

    What is Chronic Wasting Disease?
    Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a disease of cervids (deer and elk) which causes weight loss and behavioural changes. The disease is always fatal once clinical signs have appeared. [See: CWD Literature Reports: Detailed Clinical Signs (Disease Reports), CWD Literature Reports: Editorial Overview of Disease Characteristics for specified SPECIES/TAXA (Disease Reports); CWD Literature Reports: Mortality Rate (Percentage of the Species Population that die) (Disease Reports)]

    CWD belongs to a family of diseases known as the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. A major feature of these diseases is that they cause changes in the brain which can be seen down the microscope as the appearance of holes (spongiform change).
    [See: Chronic Wasting Disease of Deer and Elk (Non-specific Infectious Disease)]

    More on CWD:


    Is it possible that mankind is now causing this disease in ungulates because of our never-ending quest to better crops like hay, alfalfa, soy, etc. by treating fields with a continuely updated arsenal of chemical fertilizers?

    20 years ago, I never saw fetilizer trucks wading thru the pastures in spring and now its the norm. Also don’t recall ranchers putting out “cake” in tubs (a so called “natural” additive) when it comes to helping their cattle.

    Makes ya wonder what the effects might be on wildlife.

    And, is spongiform encephalopathies related to “mad cow” disease, showing up (but who would admit it) in elk, deer and moose populations?

    I know, far fetched, but then again, burcellosis was not native to to the local wildlife……..

    • jdubya Says:


      The origin of CWD in deer/elk is unclear. The best I can trace it back was “wild animal” deer/elk pens either in the Colorado, Ft. Collins area or in Wisconsin that might have been co-mingled with sheep that had their form of the disease, scrapie. Regardless, the main component of ease of transmission in deer and elk is concentration: the more animals per acre the better chance they get the disease.

      Fertilizer wouldn’t seem to make much difference but anything that concentrates game (salt licks would certainly come to mind) would promote transmission via sharing of saliva, etc. and would likely enhance the spread of the disease.

  2. TC Says:

    Not sure how an Elaeophora post turned into a CWD discussion (I’d rather talk about Elaeophora), but the evidence supporting density-dependent transmission of CWD is not all in, and density dependence does not explain the extraordinarily high disease prevalence in places where mule deer herds are declining precipitously, including significant portions of the enzootic zone of Wyoming. There are some data that better support frequency-dependent transmission in localized areas, and what we know about natural disease “spread” could fit into a thimble at this point (anthropogenic spread we have a better handle on – shame on game farmers may be the moral of that story). Data on CWD related to migration and dispersal (presumptive avenues for “spread”) in the enzootic area are just now beginning to be analyzed and published.

    As far as CWD being related to mad-cow disease – well, it is. They’re both spongiform encephalopathies and share some common features with regard to pathogenesis. Thankfully they also differ in some critical aspects. There is no evidence that CWD poses the human health threat that BSE does, some very fast and loose in vitro experiments nonwithstanding.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: