Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)


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Chronic Wasting Disease
Chronic Wasting Disease
Mike Hopper, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

Commonly Infected Wildlife

In Missouri, deer and elk can be infected.

Is This Animal Infected?

CWD is a slow-progressing disease affecting members of the deer family (cervids).
Animals can appear healthy for many months before they show symptoms:

  • Lack of coordination and paralysis.
  • Excessive salivation, difficulty swallowing, unusual behavior, and emaciation.

Can I Get It?

As of 2016, there is no evidence that humans can be infected with CWD. However, research is ongoing to determine any public health impacts.

As of 2016, no human health risk has been reported.

Currently, CWD is not known to infect people.

Protect Myself and Others

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that animals positive for CWD should not be eaten.
  • Avoid eating the brain, spinal cord, and lymph nodes from any cervid.
  • CWD has been found in captive and free-ranging deer in Missouri.

Safe for Pets?

There is no evidence that CWD can be naturally transmitted to pets but, to be safe, animals that have tested positive for CWD should not be fed to pets.

What Causes It?

The disease is believed to be caused by an abnormally folded prion protein. CWD prions are infectious to other cervids.

Other prion diseases include Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) and variant CJD in people, and scrapie in sheep.

CWD is spread both directly from deer to deer and indirectly to deer from infected soil and other surfaces.

Get more information

CWD Management Zone and Mandatory Testing 2015-2016 CWD Surveillance Summary CWD Testing Results

In This Section

Q&As About CWD (pdf, 504 KB)

We have answers for many of your questions about CWD.

Mandatory CWD Sampling Stations

If you harvest a deer from the CWD Management Zone during November 12 or 13, you must take your deer (or the head with at least 6 inches of the neck in place) on the day of harvest to one of these CWD sampling stations.

Voluntary CWD Sampling Stations

From September 15 to January 15 deer may be taken to various locations for voluntary CWD sampling. On November 12 and 13 deer harvested from the CWD Management Zone must be taken to a mandatory CWD sampling station.

2015-2016 CWD Surveillance

Check the total number of CWD samples taken during the current surveillance season.

Check the Code

This is NOT a legal document. Regulations are subject to revision during the current year.
Refer to the Wildlife Code.