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What is the risk from being exposed to chronic wasting disease (CWD) from hunting Elk, Deer or Moose as a hunter in the United States?

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According to the CDC, the risk is low, and no cases in humans have been reported.

The lack of evidence of a link between CWD transmission and unusual cases of CJD, despite several epidemiologic investigations, and the absence of an increase in CJD incidence in Colorado and Wyoming suggest that the risk, if any, of transmission of CWD to humans is low. Although the in vitro studies indicating inefficient conversion of human prion protein by CWD-associated prions raise the possibility of low-level transmission of CWD to humans, no human cases of prion disease with strong evidence of a link with CWD have been identified.

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In the meantime, to minimize the risk for exposure to the CWD agent, hunters should consult with their state wildlife agencies to identify areas where CWD occurs and continue to follow advice provided by public health and wildlife agencies. Hunters should avoid eating meat from deer and elk that look sick or test positive for CWD. They should wear gloves when field-dressing carcasses, bone-out the meat from the animal, and minimize handling of brain and spinal cord tissues. As a precaution, hunters should avoid eating deer and elk tissues known to harbor the CWD agent (e.g., brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils, lymph nodes) from areas where CWD has been identified.

Chronic Wasting Disease and Potential Transmission to Humans

With that said most wildlife departments will test your game for you, and in some areas it is mandatory. You would just leave the meat to hang or be refrigerated until the results come back and only eat the meat if the animal comes back clean.

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