Chronic Wasting Disease

Asked February 19, 2019, 12:35 PM EST

Is CWD new to the Midwest? Is it spreading fast throughout the Midwest? Have more CWD testing facilities opened recently in the Midwest? If contracted by humans, how could CWD affect us? What actions are currently being taken to eliminate/control the spread of CWD?

Ingham County Michigan

1 Response

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is not new to North America. According to the CDC, it was first identified in Colorado in 1960. https://www.cdc.gov/prions/cwd/occurrence.html It has been found in 24 states in the U.S.

Each state works to create their control and testing approach and plan. Prevention information can be found from the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/prions/cwd/prevention.html and from MSU Extension at https://www.canr.msu.edu/chronic-wasting-disease/. Additional information, testing plans and results, and more can be found from the State of Michigan at https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79136_79608_90516---,00.html.

The CDC recommends not consuming venison from a CWD infected cervid, although there has been no formal linking of CWD to human disease. Since CWD is a prion based disease, the precaution is based on other prion disease spread to humans such as BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) and links to human cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) https://www.cdc.gov/prions/bse/about.html.