A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Thursday, January 26, 2006

CWD: More Dangerous Than We Thought?

There's a lot of deer in Wisconsin, and a lot of deer hunters. About four years ago, there was a mild panic related to Chronic Wasting Disease-- a nasty little disease that appeared to be fatal in deer 100% of the time, and was hard to detect early in it's development. The panic related to people eating the brains, marrow, or nervous system tissue of afflicted deer and contracting CWD themselves-- which, experts believe, would result in a death similar to that caused by mad cow disease.

It hasn't happened yet, so maybe the whole thing is overblown, but the answer-- in addition to killing all infected deer and quarantining deer who are near infected deer-- was for people not to eat the bits that might be infected. Not a huge sacrifice, as most hunters eat the venison of deers, but not many eat the brains. I'm not ever sure why you'd want to-- though venison is a reasonably tasty meat.

Comes now word that the prions that are feared to cause CWD aren't found just in the brain and nervous system. It seems they can be found in regular old muscle tissue-- which is the stuff that we do usually eat. Sigh. Had some venison jerky over the Christmas break-- so wish me luck, and if I start writing weird things-- I mean really weird things, not just my usual drivel--contact the Wisconsin DNR at once.

I don't seriously think that there is any risk to eating venison-- but it is something worth keeping tabs on, just in case.


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