Elk NetworkStudy: Human Resistance to CWD is Strong

General | May 29, 2024

A new study shows the human body stands up to chronic wasting disease when its neural tissue is exposed to prions, abnormal proteins that infect brain tissue eventually leading to death for deer, elk and moose.

The research offers some confidence for hunters despite April 2024 reports that claimed two hunters died from CWD after eating infected deer meat. At the time, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation announced it stood by other wildlife experts that discounted those media accounts. The media outlets took the story from an abstract posted by a research journal, not an actual documented situation. One of the abstract authors confirmed there are no proven CWD transmissions to date.

California is the latest state to confirm CWD within its borders. In total, 34 states and five Canadian provinces confirmed the presence of CWD. State wildlife agencies have rules in place to try to manage its spread such as not allowing the movement of animals or animal parts from infected to uninfected areas.

RMEF is a founding member and sponsor of the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance. Along with other partners, RMEF more recently created the CWD Applied Research Program in 2019, which brings together top CWD researchers and managers to identify the highest priority research that will impact CWD management.

Since 1995, RMEF supplied more than $800,000, including $200,000 in 2023, to state agencies and other partners for CWD surveillance, management, research and outreach.

(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)