Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Are Deer Hunters at Risk for Wasting Disease?


Are Deer Hunters at Risk for Chronic Wasting Disease?

Avoid shooting a deer that appears sick.

Wear latex gloves when field-dressing.

Avoid cutting through bones or the spinal column.

Do not use household knives or utensils.

Never eat a deer’s brain, eyeballs, spinal cord, spleen or lymph nodes.

That's the advice hunting officials have been giving hunters since the 2002 US outbreak of chronic wasting disease (CWD).

CWD is a fatal neurological disorder similar to mad cow disease that afflicts deer and elk and is not proven to spread to humans.

But after two articles in Science this year, they might want to add "get your affairs in order." Because eating and handling venison have never looked so risky.

Deer hunting was just getting back to normal in the last two years in a kind of don't ask/don't tell dance of denial.

Hunting states like Colorado and Wisconsin were curtailing their original CWD eradication programs and conceding defeat [1,2] but people weren't afraid to eat or butcher deer anymore. Food pantries were accepting venison again--giving some recipients a warning flier--and presumably not asking why the meat was okay for the poor and not the donor.

And even though a 2001 Archives of Neurology article--"Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in unusually young patients who consumed venison" [3]--and 2003 Centers for Disease Control report--"Fatal Degenerative Neurologic Illnesses in Men Who Participated in Wild Game Feasts" [4]--raised suspicions about venison/human illness connections, they were not definitive.

Then an article in the January 26 issue of Science [5] reported that prions, the misfolded proteins that spread CWD, were not just found in a deer's brain, spine and lymph nodes but in the muscle and flesh that people eat. And that "humans consuming or handling meat from CWD-infected deer are at risk to prion exposure." Prions can't be neutralized by cooking, heating, irradiation or chemicals and are virtually indestructible, contributing to the difficulty in containing prion outbreaks.

Before Departments of Natural Resources (DNRs) had time to respond, another article appeared in the October 6 Science [6 ]which said CWD prions were present in the saliva and blood of infected deer and that casual contact could spread the disease.

In Fort Collins, Colorado, where some of the research was conducted, people even worried about the safety of their drinking water which was drawn from a raw water treatment plant near the CWD infected animals' pens [7] after the report.

Renewed DNR fears present an economic dilemma for DNRs some of which have not even won back the deer hunters who dropped out in 2002. Antler-intent hunters aren't eager to buy licenses to shoot does or yearlings before they can shoot a buck, as some eradication programs require. Nor do they want to shoot or handle CWD-infected deer. Free testing programs exist for deer caught in known CWD zones for hunters willing to wait to consume their venison. But removing a deer's head for testing also exposes a hunter to blood and prion containing tissues. And what about the sick deer in areas thought to be safe?

"Just think of all the CWD gut piles in the woods where other animals can eat it and the blood can be filtered through the soil and enter the ground water," cautions Jon C. McCabe of Watertown, Wisconsin in the Capital Times as gun deer season opened. [8]

"If the hunter has the deer processed, does that processor sterilize its equipment after each deer is cut up so cross contamination does not occur? If the hunter cuts up his/her own deer, he or she should wear surgical gloves and not have any open cuts or sores on their hands."

Colorado hunter Al Samuelson, whose buck was recently found to be CWD positive, now worries about his hunting clothes and having put his blood-soaked hands on his truck's steering wheel and door handles. Even his wife and washing machine were exposed, he says. [9]

But DNR budgets are largely driven by hunting fees. Some accuse states of deliberately keeping mum about CWD risks to keep dollars flowing in.

As deer hunters go afield this season they are more worried about where deer are hiding than prions. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, prion disease in humans, has a distinctively long incubation period and the infection source is often never known.

But food pantries in Lincoln, Nebraska are starting to refuse venison donations from the scores of hunters who can't or won't eat what they kill.[10] Their disclaimer to Don't ask/ Don't tell? Don't eat.

1 "State stops culling herds of deer, elk" Rocky Mountain News, March 29, 2006

2 "Deer hunting rules may change in CWD zone" AP, June 29, 2006

3 Oct;58(10):1673-8

4 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)

Feb 21, 2003 / 52(07);125-127

5 "Prions in Skeletal Muscles of Deer with Chronic Wasting Disease"

6 "Infectious Prions in the Saliva and Blood of Deer with Chronic Wasting Disease"

7 "CSU pinpoints spread of CWD Research shows blood, saliva can transmit disease"

The Fort Collins Coloradoan, Oct 6 2006

8 Capital Times Nov 18, 2006

9 North Forty News & Fossil Creek Current Nov 2 2006

10 Beatrice Daily Sun Nov 15, 2006

Ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On What We Could Do For Hong Kong, If Only We Dared

There has been something repulsive about PM Jacinda Ardern’s assurances that our joint 5 Eyes criticism of China’s actions over Hong Kong – and China’s harsh reaction – are all well understood on both sides. According to Ardern, it has been a case of us saying the sort of things we’ve said before, them acknowledging our need to do so, and then them responding much as we would expect them to do. All neat and tidy. Frankly, if all of this is merely virtue signalling on our part, and huffy declarations of independence on their part, then what’s the point of this diplomatic dance..? More>>

 

Grant Robertson: Government To Review Housing Settings

New Zealand’s stronger-than-expected economic performance has flowed through to housing demand, so the Government will review housing settings to improve access to the market, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “Our focus More>>

ALSO:

Law Commission: Recommends New DNA Laws For Criminal Investigations

Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission today released a report that recommends a new, comprehensive regime to control how DNA is obtained, used and retained for criminal investigations. The report has revealed significant gaps in the operation ... More>>

ALSO:

National: Leader’s Speech At Annual General Meeting

Good morning delegates. It’s an absolute privilege to be speaking as your leader. I’d like to acknowledge the party president, regional chairs, board members, National Party staff, our MPs, our candidates, and most importantly, you – the delegates, ... More>>

ALSO:


Economy: Crown Accounts Reflect Govt’s Careful Economic Management

The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance ... More>>

ALSO:

Green Party: Announce Portfolio Reshuffle With Talented And Energised Caucus Team

“The Green Party caucus offers a breadth of talent and energy to the Parliament this term. In ten MPs you have a small business owner, a human rights lawyer, an academic, a climate negotiator, a transport planner, and so much more”, Green Party ... More>>

ALSO:

APEC: New Zealand Ready To Host Virtually

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took over the leadership of APEC earlier today, when she joined leaders from the 21 APEC economies virtually for the forum’s final 2020 meeting. “We look forward to hosting a fully virtual APEC 2021 next year. While ... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels