Canadian researchers have discovered the first transmission of Chronic Wasting Disease to a primate. Canadian researchers have discovered that macaque monkeys have contracted the disease after eating infected meat. This is raising concerns about the risks to humans.
CWD was originally thought to not be able to infect humans. Now that might not be the case.
As stated by Stefanie Czub in The Tyee, "The assumption was for the longest time that chronic wasting disease was not a threat to human health, but with the new data, it seems we need to revisit this view to some degree."
Czub is a researcher with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and is leading the prion research.
The macaques that contracted the disease where fed infected venison over a three year period. The quantity of meat fed to the monkeys equates to a human eating a 7-ounce steak a month (which really sucks because I eat more than that in a week). Three of the five macaques eating the venison contracted the disease. The good news is that another test group of monkeys that had CWD rubbed on their skin did not contract the disease, so if you come in contact with it in the field, there is still a low risk.
These findings do not mean that humans will contract CWD; it just means there's more evidence that it could potentially happen. If you harvest a deer in a CWD area, it's now more important than ever to have it tested for CWD.