Hydatid hysteria

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One way to save the humans? Educate yourself.

It is hard to believe that years after the irresponsible introduction of wolves infected with the parasite Echinococcus granulosus tapeworm into Montana, most people still don’t know about this potentially fatal disease. Known as Hydatid disease, infected people develop cysts of tiny tape worm heads in their liver, lungs or brain. They have to be removed surgically, and if they are in the brain, they are inoperable and fatal. This disease has caused the confirmed deaths of over 300 Alaskans since 1950.

I recently found this information published in The Outdoorsman, the December 2009 edition. It is titled, “Two-Thirds of Idaho Wolf Carcasses Examined Have Thousands of Hydatid Disease Tapeworms.” Now E. granulosus has been confirmed in two-thirds of the wolves examined by Fish and Game experts participating in a study evaluating the lower intestines of those wolves found in both Idaho and Montana. What has not been confirmed is how many coyotes, dogs, cattle and even humans it has infected. With a higher population density in Idaho and Montana than Alaska, the previously foreign disease has a new host; unsuspecting lower-48ers who have been deceived by their Fish and Game, and are now at risk of contracting and dying from the disease. Where are the warnings? They never came from the people responsible for “introducing” the infected wolves from Canada and Alaska.

Why the deception? And why wasn’t anything mentioned about the disease in the latest cover article in the Independent? (See “One way to save the wolf? Hunt it,” May 20, 2010.) It’s because the people pushing for the wolves know that if the public found out about the dangers of high wolf populations infecting deer, elk, moose, coyotes, dogs and even people with this disease, there would be a public outcry over the recent population explosion of wolves in the state. All I can say now is, do the research yourself. Find out about Echinococcus granulosus and decide if you want wolves running around in your backyard.

Jacob Chessin Wustner



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