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Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a prion disease causing degeneration of the centralnervous system within various species of deer, elk, moose and caribou, collectively known as cervids. CWD originated in Colorado in the 1960s and has spread to 29 states, four Canadian provinces, three Scandinavian countries and South Korea. Prions are excreted through bodily fluids, waste, and decomposing carcasses that remain inthe environment, posing a potential threat to other species. A significant number of people are directly exposed to CWD prions through handling and consumption of contaminated cervid carcasses and using cervid brains for tanning. Similar exposure, through incorporation of sheep prions into the food chain, has resulted in a prion disease called Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease) and subsequent transmission of cow prions to humans, resulting in variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. This study aims to address the risks of CWD transmission to humans and cervids globally.



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Chronic Wasting Disease: Crossing the Species Barrier into Human Populations