Elk NetworkStudy Focuses on CWD Risk to Humans

General | December 12, 2017

Researchers in Colorado determined the risk of humans contracting Chronic Wasting Disease “is very unlikely,” as reported by Deer & Deer Hunting magazine.  

John Ozaga, recognized as one of North America’s most respected deer researchers, partnered with other scientists to scour 50 years of data and determined there is no evidence that human deaths due to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease are linked to areas of the country where CWD is prevalent.

“The researchers centered their study in seven northern Colorado counties where CWD has occurred in free-ranging deer and elk for more than 25 years. Hunting license records for the area indicate that about 75 percent of the deer and elk hunting licenses purchased from 1995 through 2001 were issued locally. Hence, county residents consume most regionally harvested game, and would have a high potential risk of consuming CWD-infected animals,” wrote Ozaga.

“Given their analysis, the researchers found that human prion disease is extremely rare, and increased risk due to CWD exposure appears to be subtle or nonexistent. They found no significant difference in the proportion of deaths from CJD in CWD-endemic versus non-CWD endemic counties.”

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