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Prion diseases have become increasingly important within biomedical research over the past several decades due to the increasing prevalence of these diseases among human and non-human animal populations and their potential to cross the species barrier. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) represents one condition with a troubling potential for cross-species transmission from cervids to humans. Prion diseases are 100% fatal and no treatment currently exists. According to USGS, CWD has been identified among both free-ranging and commercially captive cervids in Asia, Europe, and North America. The Oneida County Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance Project involves a collaborative effort between the Oneida County Health Department and Binghamton University to investigate a known-point source exposure to CWD by participants eating contaminated venison at a game dinner in Upstate New York in 2005. This longitudinal study began with a baseline of eighty-one exposed individuals whose behavioral and health data were collected over the following fifteen year through 2020. During this study period, the number of participants who consumed venison and engaged in antler removal fell by 17.1%, and 5.7%, respectively. This study will detail our current results through a cross-sectional analysis of behavioral patterns and the health statuses of all participants in 2005, 2012, and 2020, in addition to a longitudinal analysis of a subset of the individuals who remained in this study throughout its duration. Research into the epidemiological characteristics and biological mechanisms behind CWD represents a critical avenue for both public health and biomedical studies.



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Public Health Implications of Chronic Wasting Disease: A Fifteen Year Follow-Up to a Point Source Exposure in Upstate New York