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.
HOW BAD CAN IT GET?
As of 2016, no human health risk has been reported.
SYMPTOMS IN HUMANS
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.
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