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Prion Diseases

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Chronic Wasting Disease

A different transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) disease, called chronic wasting disease (CWD), has been detected in U.S. deer and elk populations in 11 states. So far, scientists have uncovered no evidence that deer or elk with CWD might transmit some form of TSE disease to people who eat or have close contact with deer or elk.

More research is necessary to determine whether CWD poses any risk to humans, particularly because it is spreading over a wider geographical area in the United States. There have been several reported cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in people who have eaten venison, most much younger than the typical age associated with CJD. In each of these instances, careful investigations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have shown no causal link between CJD and CWD in deer and elk populations. Continued surveillance is important, however, to assess any possible risk of CWD transmission to humans.

Last Updated March 04, 2009