Some Arizona Game and Fish Department customers have called us because they have heard rumors that a hunting guide diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) may have gotten the disease from handling a hunter-killed elk in Game Management Unit 2B.

The rumor is that CJD can be caused by a wildlife disease that affects deer and elk called Chronic Wasting Disease.

All available science shows that there is no cause-and-effect relationship between these two diseases. CJD occurs randomly in humans. Chronic Wasting Disease is a wildlife disease.

Chronic Wasting Disease has not been found in Arizona The Arizona Game and Fish Department initiated a surveillance program for Chronic Wasting Disease in 1998 and has sampled 3,511 deer and elk. No cases of Chronic Wasting Disease have been found in Arizona.

There is a difference between CJD and new variant CJD (nvCJD) CJD is a disease that occurs randomly in humans. It has not been connected to any wildlife disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says CJD occurs throughout the world in one out of every one million people. It is different from new variant CJD (nvCJD), which has been linked to a disease found in domestic animals called Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy.

There is no evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship between nvCJD and deer or elk.

There is no evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship between CJD and deer or elk.

Enjoy the sport of hunting The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reviewed the best available information on CJD and Chronic Wasting Disease and has found a “lack of evidence of a link between Chronic Wasting Disease transmission and unusual cases of CJD, despite several epidemiologic investigations.” The Centers also note an absence of an increase in CJD incidence in Colorado and Wyoming, where Chronic Wasting Disease has been discovered in wildlife.