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CDC Warns Hunters To Avoid Handling, Eating Infected Deer Meat

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have asked hunters to avoid eating or even handling possibly infected meat. This warning has been announced after chronic wasting disease was detected within wild deer, moose or elk in 24 different states. The disease directly attacks the central nervous system making the animals lose weight, lack coordination and listlessness. It also has chances of making them more violent and least afraid of coming to human contact. The disease belongs to the same category of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease which is more of a rapidly developing and extremely fatal neurodegenerative disease. The disease can spread between animals via body fluids.

At present, there is no confirmed study or observation to prove that the disease is harmful for humans as well. However, CDC has asked hunters to be aware and keep distance from infected animals. It has suggested people neither to handle nor to eat meat from elks or deer who appear sick or are already dead. People should wear latex or rubber gloves while handling meat or keep least contact more while managing brains or spinal cords of the animals. In cervids as well as deer, the incubation period is for a year or even more. However, the disease is always more fatal since animals often do not show symptoms for several years after getting affected by the germs of the disease.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department mentioned that animals when tested for the disease might be positive but the clinical signs and symptoms appear long after to provide evidence of it being actual and not a false alarm. Most of these animals even appear healthy enough and do not look or behave like they are carrying such fatal diseases.

This disease was first observed within captive deer found in Colorado. Later, it was also reported within animals in Norway, Canada or Finland.