Chronic Wasting Disease – Public health

The human health risks from chronic wasting disease are extremely low, but certain precautions should be taken.

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

Although there is no direct evidence that CWD can infect humans, health authorities are concerned about possible risk to those who consume wild deer from areas where CWD is established.

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 CWD is not known to infect humans; however, persons should not knowingly consume meat of animals with the disease. Hunters concerned about CWD should contact Alberta health authorities.

Further information about CWD and human health recommendations are provided at the link above, and are 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: