How Does Chronic Wasting Disease Affect Humans?


Quick Answer

There is no significant evidence that chronic wasting disease transmits to humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Further studies are being conducted on chronic wasting disease, as of 2015, but the CDC advises hunters not to eat deer or elk infected with the disease. Chronic wasting disease is a prion disease. Some prion diseases that affect humans are Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker syndrome.

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Full Answer

Chronic wasting disease affects animals such as deer, elk and moose. It was first identified as a fatal syndrome in deer in the 1960's, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms include weight loss and behavioral changes. Ongoing studies are currently trying to establish any relationship between exposure to chronic wasting disease and diagnosis of prion diseases in humans. However, there is no evidence that such a relationship exists.

Chronic wasting disease is a type of prion disease. Prion diseases are also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and are rare neurodegenerative disorders, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One prion disease that affects humans is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. It is always fatal and usually leads to death within one year. The onset of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is often spontaneous and occurs when normal prion proteins become abnormal.

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