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Thursday - September 14, 2017 1:11 am

Study shows monkeys contracted CWD from infected deer meat, shows possibility to humans

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Expert warns to get meat tested, as bow hunting begins Saturday 

A new study shows that contaminated deer meat from Chronic Wasting Disease could infect humans.

A macaque monkey in the Canadian study contracted CWD after eating meat from a CWD-positive deer. It's a scary development said Keith Poulsen with the Wisconsin Vet Diagnostic Laboratory.

"It's the first study of its kind that showed oral ingestion of contaminated meat from CWD infected deer that actually caused disease in a non-human primate," he said. "No one else has shown that."

Eighteen macaques were exposed to CWD in various ways to study the transmission potential of the disease. Three of five macaques that were fed infected white-tailed deer meat over a three-year period tested positive for CWD, according to the Journal Sentinel. The meat fed to the macaques represented the human equivalent of eating a 7-ounce steak per month.

Poulsen says you shouldn't assume CWD won't affect humans.

"There's a lot of gaps in how we understand this disease," Poulsen said. "What this info suggests, the risk to a human getting infected from contaminated meat, although is very small, it's not zero."

Studies by the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources and other agencies show the prevalence of CWD in deer is near 20 percent in some places of the state and Iowa.

Bow hunting in Wisconsin begins Saturday and Poulsen cautions hunters to get their deer tested. There are many testing stations across Wisconsin.

"We need to know more and keep monitoring to see how the disease is changing and spreading around the state," he said.

Last modified on Thursday - September 14, 2017 1:39 am
Drew Kelly

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