Deadly deer disease can affect another by an infected tissue injection too.
The worry is that an injection of tissue from leg muscles of deer infected with chronic wasting disease a make mice infected with the same strain.
This is proof enough to say that deer muscle harbours this infectious prion protein and that muscle alone can trigger the wasting disease.
According to Glenn C. Telling of the University of Kentucky, lead investigator of the study said, "We don't know how the infectious prion goes from the central nervous system into the muscle. But it raises the possibility that hunters could be exposed to prions by consuming or handling meat." The study appears in the Science journal.
The disease had spread upstate New York as well. So anyone handling or consuming venison is at risk.
"I am not surprised" that the infectious agent is turning up in muscle, said Dr. Paul Brown, a Creutzfeldt Jakob expert. So chronic wasting is a very hazardous disease and needs enough research.
Scientists have not found high levels of infectious protein in the skeletal muscle of sick cows. That it was found in deer muscle is worrisome.These diseases have a long incubation period, and if chronic wasting did jump species into humans there is no telling how that disease would present itself, he said.
"There is no evidence of CWD transmission to human hunters," CDC medical epidemiologist Dr. Ermias Belay said. "But studies are limited." He said he wouldn't hesitate to eat venison in regions where the disease has not shown up yet. But he warns hunters to have meat tested or avoid consuming venison in areas where the disease has been found.
Even farmed animals have been found to be infected with the disease. So it is time to take notice and act!