(WVLT) — Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a disease that has impacted: white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. It is progressive and fatal, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
The disease causes damage to portions of the brain, creating holes in the brain cells and causing a sponge-like appearance. Animals with the disease are typically emaciated, display abnormal behavior, lose bodily functions, become weak and then eventually die.
Previously, TWRA had said the disease did not appear to affect humans. Now, however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say infection in humans is possible.
According to CBS affiliate WJHL, CDC reported that a 2017 study showed monkeys who ate infected deer meat contracted CWD.
As of now, there are no known cases of humans with CWD. The CDC has warned the public to test venison or elk meat for CWD before eating it from affected areas.
Signs in animals include: loss of appetite, excess salivation, weight loss, excessive thirsty and urination, listlessness, teeth grinding and lowering the head and drooping of the ears.