Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), often referred to as “zombie deer disease,” primarily affects deer, elk, reindeer, sika deer, and moose. While there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in humans, some scientists have raised concerns about the potential risk of the disease spreading to humans through contact with infected animals or their body fluids.
‘Zombie Deer Disease’ Epidemic Spreads In Yellowstone As Scientists Raise Fears It May Jump To Humans— Housing information (@usaHousingInfo) December 26, 2023
CWD Symptoms in Animals:
- Symptoms in animals include drastic weight loss, stumbling, listlessness, and neurological issues.
- It is a fatal disease with no known treatments or vaccines for animals.
Human Infection Risk:
- CWD is not known to infect humans, but there are concerns regarding its potential transmission to certain non-human primates.
- No human infections have been reported to date.
CDC Recommendations for Hunters:
- The CDC recommends that hunters:
- Avoid consuming animals that appear sick, are found dead, or exhibit strange behavior in areas with CWD.
- Test deer for CWD.
- Wear gloves while handling animals.
- Avoid handling animal organs, especially brain and spinal cord tissues.
Precautions and Cooking:
- Cooking does not eliminate prions associated with CWD, so precautions are crucial.
- CWD is estimated to be present in 10-15% of mule deer near Cody, migrating to Yellowstone National Park.
- The consumption of CWD-infected animals by humans was expected to increase by 20% annually in 2017.
Potential for Spread to Humans:
- Scientists warn that governments should be prepared for a possible spillover event.
- Research suggests that CWD may be more transmissible to humans from animals than initially believed.
No Infections in Domestic and Livestock Animals:
- CWD is not known to infect humans, domestic animals, or livestock.
- If it were to infect humans, it would likely occur through the consumption of infected deer and elk.
- CWD is considered a slow-moving disaster, and experts emphasize the importance of government preparedness.
These points highlight the key information regarding CWD and its potential risks to humans and animals, along with recommended precautions.
What should humans do if they suspect they have chronic wasting disease (cwd)?
- No Human Infections Reported: There have been no reported cases of CWD infection in humans.
- Precautionary Measures:
- Avoid Consumption: Refrain from consuming meat from deer or elk that appear sick, are found dead, or exhibit unusual behavior, especially in areas where CWD is known to be present.
- Proper Disposal: Hunters should report suspected cases of CWD to relevant authorities and ensure the proper disposal of carcasses.
- Handling Precautions: When handling or processing carcasses, wear rubber or latex gloves, avoid cutting through the skull or spinal cord, and use separate dedicated knives.
- Testing and Guidance: Check state wildlife and public health guidance to see if testing of animals is recommended in a specific area.
- Seek Professional Advice: If there are concerns about potential exposure to CWD, individuals should seek advice from healthcare professionals for further guidance and information.
- Stay Informed: It’s important to stay informed about the latest updates and recommendations from health and wildlife authorities regarding CWD.
These steps prioritize safety and precaution in areas where CWD is a concern while emphasizing the absence of confirmed human infections.