Deer Zoonotic Diseases
Name: Shelly W.
Date: January 2004
What are some deer diseases that affect humans? And also
what are deer diseases that affect the quality of deer meat?
The main one that comes to mind these days is Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which can
affect deer and elk. It is the same thing as Mad Cow disease (in cows) and Cruetzfeld-Jacob
disease (in humans). In all cases, the infectious agent is something called a prion.
The history of this disease is a fascinating one, involving research of headhunters
and cannibals, and the controversial discovery of an entirely new type of infectious
agent that does not appear to have any DNA or RNA.
I have read over a year ago that Mad Cow has infiltrated some wild deer populations out
west and perhaps in western Canada......I think I heard that kills in certain states must
be tested before they consumed. Its not clear how widespread this might be.......my guess
is its rather isolated and small or we'd hear more about it on the news, esp. in light of
the recent dairy cattle positives in WA state.
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Update: June 2012