Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer

A frequent question that comes up to those of us who eat venison is "What about that disease?"  They are referring to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) which has been reported in a dozen states and two Canadian provinces.  Somewhat similar to a bovine spongiform encephalopathy, sometimes called “mad cow disease", it has recently been found in a captive deer at a Linn County farm, the first case in Missouri.
“With the assistance of hunters, the Missouri Department of Conservation has tested more than 24,000 free-ranging deer for CWD from all portions of the state since 2002 with no cases found,” said Bob Pierce, University of Missouri Extension wildlife specialist.  "There has been no evidence of CWD transmission to humans or livestock."
  To be extra cautious, hunters should not harvest sick appearing animals and avoid cutting through bone and not handle the brain or spinal tissues.  Only muscle tissues should be eaten, avoiding brain, eyes, spleen and lymphnodes and other selected organs.  Details are available at

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