Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is terrifying. The more you know, the more frightening this devastating disease becomes. Simply put, CWD is a rare disease that attacks the brain of deer and elk and is not yet confirmed to be non-transmittable to humans. We, at Northstar, certainly do not claim to be experts on the disease but we do want you to know that our elk either live in non-CWD regions (all live elk ranches are required to test for CWD) or, if CWD has been detected in the region, the elk are then also lab-tested when we harvest them and confirmed by the lab to be CWD Negative and completely safe prior to the meat being released for processing. This testing system creates a very bullet-proof filter for catching and monitoring the disease. All brain, spinal tissue, and lymph nodes are removed and verified to be properly disposed of regardless of the test results.
But, outside of the still-unknown, potential threat to human health, what’s so scary about CWD? The disease has the capacity to destroy the future of cervids (deer and elk). CWD has perplexed scientists for decades now and is slowly spreading throughout the country.
We should all be especially concerned about the threat of CWD as it stands to potentially destroy the deer and elk herds in North America, not that we should live in fear but that we are aware and rooting for those working to understand the disease. Getting a better handle on this disease will help us move closer to a cure. CWD is also believed to be closely linked to human brain disorders such as CJD (creutzfeldt-jakob disease) & Alzheimers so the spillover of a cure for CWD could have significant progress toward a cure or significantly more effective treatment of human versions of the disease. Isn’t it ironic that this “new” brain disease in deer increases in prevalence while a strikingly similar disease in humans rides the same upward trend?