Title

Risk behaviors in a rural community with a known point-source exposure to chronic wasting disease

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2008

Keywords

disease, environmental health

Abstract

The emergence and continuing spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in cervids has now reached 14 U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, and South Korea, producing a potential for transmission of CWD prions to humans and other animals globally. In 2005, CWD spread for the first time from the Midwest to more densely populated regions of the East Coast. As a result, a large cohort of individuals attending a wild game feast in upstate New York were exposed to a deer that was subsequently confirmed positive for CWD. Eighty-one participants who ingested or otherwise were exposed to a deer with chronic wasting disease at a local New York State sportsman's feast were recruited for this study. Participants were administered an exposure questionnaire and agreed to follow-up health evaluations longitudinally over the next six years. Our results indicate two types of risks for those who attended the feast, a Feast Risk and a General Risk. The larger the number of risk factors, the greater the risk to human health if CWD is transmissible to humans. Long-term surveillance of feast participants exposed to CWD is ongoing. The risk data from this study provide a relative scale for cumulative exposure to CWD-infected tissues and surfaces, and those in the upper tiers of cumulative risk may be most at risk if CWD is transmissible to humans.

Publisher Attribution

Garruto, R. M., Reiber, C., Alfonso, M. P., Gastrich, H., Needham, K., Sunderman, S., ... & Dunn, J. (2008). Risk behaviors in a rural community with a known point-source exposure to chronic wasting disease.Environmental Health, 7(1), 1.