Mad Deer Disease: A Danger to Humans?
The News media is slowly picking up their responsibility on reporting the appearance of Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer. This has not been a particular hot topic in Virginia, but with deer hunting now active in Virginia, you should be aware of the precautions and dangers this disease could pose to humans.
The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries recommend that all hunters take precautions in dressing deer. These measures include using rubber gloves, and avoiding spinal and organ meat. They are also telling you not to dress any deer that appear sick. Deer that do not appear sick may also be infected with CWD.
Why are these measures necessary? Chronic Wasting disease have been found in deer 12 miles from the Virginia Border. The disease similar to Mad Cow Disease, it is a prion based disease that is little understood. There has been a lot of dispute if this disease is transferable to humans. In tests by the CDC the species barrier was broken with 7 of 10 primates after a 9 month incubation period. There have been cases that are considered anecdotal where humans have developed a similar disease after eating venison. The disease is always fatal in the human form.
Although CDC scientists have broken the species barrier in their tests, they are still stating that transfer to humans is questionable. The Virginia Game Commission is also acting low key, but they are warning you to take precautions. Interestingly, they do not know how this disease is transferred between deer.
Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer has a long incubation period. It could be months after a deer is infected that any outward symptoms appear. If you choose to hunt and eat venison you should read about the precautions listed on the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Site.
To read a previous post that includes the link to the CDC scientists breaking the species barrier with 7 of 10 primates go here.
To read all our posts on Chronic Wasting Disease go here.