About Chronic Wasting Disease:
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is an always-fatal brain disease affecting deer and threatening elk in Pennsylvania. This webpage is intended to provide the public with accurate and updated information on CWD and CWD management within the commonwealth. For more information on CWD in Pennsylvania, please visit the Game Commission CWD webpage.
Human-Health Risks Associated with Chronic Wasting Disease
Recent statements by the University of Minnesota’s Michael Osterholm about human-health risks associated with CWD have many concerned about the likelihood of CWD infecting humans. CWD first was detected in Colorado in 1967 and it’s inevitable that someone has consumed CWD-infected venison since. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states there have been no reported cases of CWD infecting humans. With this being said, recent studies on non-human primates raise concerns that CWD might pose a risk to humans. Therefore, the CDC and World Health Organization also recommend people avoid consuming CWD-infected meat. In addition, the Game Commission urges hunters to have deer harvested from areas where CWD is known to exist tested. In Pennsylvania, free CWD testing is available within disease management areas during both antlered and antlerless hunting seasons. For more information on how to get your deer tested and recommended precautions for hunters, please visit the Game Commission CWD webpage.
Additional Resources Addressing the Human-Health Risks of CWD:
Information on CWD from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Deer Alliance Statement on Human-health Risks of CWD