Human Health Risks From CWD

CWD Transmission to People

There have been no known cases of CWD infecting people. Hunters and others should take precautions when processing any game to help prevent the transmission of any potential disease.

Have Deer Tested for CWD

In areas where CWD is known to be present, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hunters strongly consider having their harvested deer tested before eating the meat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends not consuming an animal that tests positive for the disease. Do not eat meat from deer that look sick or are found dead. If a hunter chooses to dispose of the processed meat, do so properly through a trash service to a properly permitted landfill to prevent the spread of the disease.

See our related "Voluntary CWD Sampling All Season" page for more information on statewide voluntary CWD sampling and testing during the entire deer-hunting season.

Recommendations for Hunters and Others

  • Do not handle or consume any deer that is acting abnormally or appears to be sick.
  • Contact the Missouri Department of Conservation if you see or harvest a deer that appears sick.
  • Wear latex or rubber gloves when field dressing deer.
  • Bone out meat from harvested deer. Don’t saw through bone and avoid cutting through the brain or spinal cord (backbone).
  • Do not use household knives or other kitchen utensils for field dressing.
  • Minimize handling of brain and spinal tissues.
  • Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils, and lymph nodes of harvested animals. Normal field dressing coupled with boning out a carcass will remove most, if not all, of these body parts. Cutting away all fatty tissue will remove remaining lymph nodes.
  • For specific precautions on processing and consuming meat from deer with CWD, visit the Department of Health and Senior Services at health.mo.gov/cwd.

Commercial Processing

For deer being commercially processed, request that the deer be processed individually, without meat from other animals being added.

There is no processing reimbursement offered if a deer tests positive for CWD. There are no requirements that deer processed at commercial facilities be tested for CWD. The testing is not a food-safety test and, based on current research, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people.

Get More Information