CWD in the News; Causes, Cures, Human Transmission?
There is a circulating news story regarding the potential of CWD being transmitted to humans. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people. The CDC recommends hunters hunting in areas with CWD strongly consider having deer or elk tested for the disease before they eat the meat. The CDC further advises if animals test positive for CWD that people do not eat the meat from those animals. Please refer to the CDC website for more information https://www.cdc.gov/prions/cwd/prevention.html
Another story that unfolded earlier this month involves the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania (USP) and a press conference about CWD on Feb. 4. Counter to decades of scientific research about CWD, representatives of the USP announced a researcher has discovered the cause of CWD to be bacteria known as Spiroplasma rather than prions. This alternative theory has not been thoroughly researched and the best available research says there is not a link between bacterial infection and the formation of prions. Even so, the USP has committed funding to support the bacteria theory research to develop testing kits and a cure for CWD.
TWRA is not changing its CWD management efforts in response to this discussion of a competing hypotheses or the promise of hypothetical treatment or management options. TWRA concurs with the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study’s (SCWDS) position that the hypothesis that CWD is caused by a prion is widely accepted by scientists and animal health professionals around the world and is well supported by scientific literature. TWRA also agrees with SCWDS it is imperative to continue aggressive management and regulatory actions to control the spread and lower the prevalence of CWD. As such, TWRA will continue with its planned CWD management efforts, at least until validated scientific research findings guide us otherwise.