Human CWD Scare Turns Out To Be False Alarm

As heard on Outdoor Journal Radio

Despite initial reports from some mainstream news outlets, the CDC has officially announced that CWD-infected deer meat was NOT the cause of two American hunters’ deaths.

The story began in 2022 when a 72-year-old man with a history of consuming meat from a CWD-infected deer population presented with rapid-onset confusion and aggression, before dying of an unknown (at the time) illness. Later, his friend, who had also eaten venison from the same deer population, died of another prion disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), raising concerns about a potential link between CWD and human prion disease.

While this connection does seem suspicious, the CDC has since reviewed the 2022 cases and considered the two men’s deaths as “part of the normal number of cases of CJD we see in the U.S.,”

Like CWD, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a prion disease, a class of fatal neurological disorders which can affect humans and animals. In prion diseases, certain proteins in the brain begin to fold abnormally, causing brain damage and other symptoms.

“A history of hunting and/or eating venison does not mean that someone got CJD that way,” CDC epidemiologist Ryan Maddox said. “Many Americans hunt and even more eat venison. Some will develop sporadic CJD by chance and others will not.”

What is CWD?

Chronic wasting disease - Wikipedia

Chronic Wasting Disease is a prion disease that targets the brains of ungulates such as White-tailed Deer, Moose, Mule Deer, Elk, and Caribou. Reminiscent of Mad Cow Disease, symptoms of the disease include drastic weight loss, stumbling, and other strange behaviour. Although symptoms of the disease can often take more than a year to show, CWD is almost always fatal and there are currently no treatments.

There is currently no evidence that humans can contract the disease, however, a study back in 2006 that confirmed Macaque Monkeys could contract the disease through the eating of contaminated meat has led researchers to warn against consuming any meat from ungulates displaying CWD symptoms.

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