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The Spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer Populations

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In 24 states and two provinces in Canada Chronic Wasting Disease has increasingly been a problem in the population of deer. This raises fear in the many hunters and consumers of deer products.

Reported areas of CWD in deer population in January 2019.

The effects of the disease are often deadly for the animals who become infected. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states how the “infected animal develops symptoms, which can include drastic weight loss (wasting), stumbling, listlessness and other neurologic symptoms.” However, these symptoms might show up after a year in the animals, meaning that the animal can live with the disease without showing any troublesome symptoms. indicates how there is not much information about how the disease transmits to other animals. One of the dangerous influences is the movement patterns of the animals, as the deer begin to interact with more animals. To this date, no treatment is available to save the lives of the animals, leaving them to die if symptoms persist.

Image result for deer CWD

Stations in areas where CWD has been identified check the deer population.

Chronic Waste Disease is a prion disease, which introduce misfolded proteins to and cause degenerative damage in the brain. Examples of human prion diseases are Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker Syndrome and Kuru, both extremely fatal. In both the animal and humans, death is always the outcome.

The greatest fear of knowing that deer have this disease is how it might impact humans. The CDC has claimed that there has been no evidence that will result in humans obtaining the disease. However, studies from the CDC show that “non-human primates, like monkeys,” are at greater risk of obtaining the disease by eating the infected meat. This correlation leads some people to fear how CWD might impact humans.

According to, “Hunters are recommended to not eat meat from animals known to be infected with CWD.” By doing this, hunters reduce chances of any unwanted effects. The safest thing to do is to avoid interactions with any CWD infected deer or meat products.

Works Cited

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