Chronic Wasting Disease is Here

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been found in Tennessee.  The always fatal disease is slowly marching across the U.S., infecting cervids such as deer and elk.  In December, it was detected here for the first time, making Tennessee the 26th state that now has to wrestle with its fallout.  CWD infects deer, elk, and other cervids and is caused by a misfolded protein commonly referred to as a prion—not a virus or bacteria—that is easily transmitted by direct contact, feces, saliva, carcass parts, and contaminated environments, such as soil.  The disease is 100% fatal and has no cure.  There is no evidence it can be transmitted to humans or domestic livestock.  Hunters are recommended to have deer tested and confirmed as CWD-negative before consuming.  An infected deer can be infected for months to years with no outward signs.  Once CWD is introduced to an area, it can’t be eliminated—only controlled.