CWD and Public Health

Chronic Wasting Disease Research Study Results

On May 25, 2017, at the Prion Conference 2017 in Edinburgh, Scotland, Canadian researchers presented initial results from their study on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Based on the findings of the study, Alberta Health has issued recommendations for handling, testing and consumption of harvested deer, elk and moose. For full details, see:

Chronic Wasting Disease and Human Health

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that CWD can infect humans and growing evidence that human infection is unlikely to occur. Similarly there is growing evidence of differences between CWD and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

The US Centers for Disease Control advise that the human health risks from CWD, if any exist, are extremely low. However, as a precaution, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that all products from animals known to be infected with any prion disease (for example, BSE in cattle, scrapie in sheep, and CWD in deer and elk) should be excluded from the human food chain.

Alberta Response to CWD Public Health Concerns

Alberta accepts the current advice from local and international public health officials that there is no known health concern associated with CWD; however, persons should not knowingly consume meat of animals known to be infected with the disease.

Further information about CWD and human health is outlined in Diseases You Can Get From Wildlife – A Field Guide for Hunters, Trappers, Anglers and Biologists at:

People handling or preparing meat of wild deer and elk may wish to take precautions. See the document CWD Guidelines: Deer Carcass Transportation and Handling at:


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Updated: Jun 22, 2017