Three outdoorsmen suspected of having contracted lethal cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) from contaminated venison instead were found to have died from other causes. These new lab findings, released by Wisconsin health officials November 21, are the latest evidence that the prion-linked illness spreading rapidly in North American deer and elk herds has not leapt to humans, as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is believed to have crossed the species barrier to cause human Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

All three of the men died of degenerative brain conditions with elements of dementia in the 1990s. Investigators discovered the avid outdoorsmen ate venison at wild game feasts in Wisconsin from the 1970s onwards, prompting concern over a potential link to CWD. The transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, found in deer and elk in at least 10 US states and two Canadian provinces, riddles the brain with microscopic holes and is marked by the presence...

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