National Deer Association urges outdoorsmen to take CWD report with grain of salt

Published 11:21 am Friday, April 19, 2024

BOGART, Ga — A recently published poster at the Neurology annual meeting sparked a flurry of news stories regarding Chronic Wasting Disease and the deaths of two men from Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. The National Deer Association published a response asking outdoorsmen to read the report with caution. 

Abstracts of the poster suggested a possible link between the CJD deaths to Chronic Wasting Disease as the men were deer hunters who consumed deer meat in a CWD prevalent area. It did not specifically conclude CWD was the causation of the men’s CJD. 

The Center for Disease Control states there are no proven cases of humans dying from infection of CWD prions. At the same time, the CDC cautions hunters to not consume the meat of infected deer and to get their deer tested for CWD before consumption. 

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NDA states the new report from Neurology is causing confusion about human health implications of chronic wasting disease in deer and humans. 

“Caution and accuracy are critical when examining the question of CWD and human health,” NDA states. “Until more information about this report becomes available we urge deer hunters to consider this news report cautiously. First, we emphasize: Nothing about this new report changes current knowledge or guidance on CWD in deer.” 

A few questions about the research were raised by the NDA in their response. The poster’s abstract gives vague details about the men and does not say where the men lived, nor that the men specifically ate meat from CWD infected deer, just a CWD infected population. 

NDA pointed to data which have shown long term study of hunters in CWD states had not shown any patterns of the prion disease spilling over. 

“There has never been a proven case of CWD spillover into humans, and that is still true after this report from the University of Texas Health Science Center in the journal Neurology,” NDA concludes. “We hope the authors provide more details, evidence or a clarification of their comments soon. The implications are just too important to treat this subject so casually.”