Chronic Wasting Disease In Deer Could One Day Spread To Humans

It is spread through protein molecules the same as Mad Cow Disease which has now infected humans.

Lynne Hayes-Freeland
February 15, 2019 - 4:05 pm

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PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) – There is concern a disease on the rise among Pennsylvania’s deer population could one day spread to humans.

Chronic Wasting Disease is spread through protein molecules the same as Mad Cow Disease which has now infected humans.

Chronic Wasting Disease or CWD was first identified in Colorado in 1967.

The first documented case in Pennsylvania was in 2012 and it’s on the rise.

“We started out with three in Bedford and Blair Counties and now we are currently up to 171 positive,” according to Courtney Collie at the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Symptoms include weight loss, drooling, stumbling, and lethargy. It is spread to deer, elk, moose and similar animals through direct contact with brain or body fluids.

“To date there have been no reported cases of Chronic Wasting Disease infecting humans,” according to Collie.

“Deer that are infected with CWD may not show symptoms for up to two years. So you can have a deer that looks perfectly healthy and actually be infected.”

Health officials warn hunters and other to have deer meat tested if they have any suspicion of CWD.

The trouble is those test results can take 4-6 weeks to come back.

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