BUFFALO – A bull elk harvested from elk hunt area 35, southwest of Buffalo, has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, a wildlife disease known to affect some moose, deer and elk.

“This is the first time we have found elk with CWD in elk hunt area 35,” says Warren Mischke, Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Sheridan Region information specialist. “This area overlays deer hunt areas 27 and 28. A whitetail deer tested positive for CWD in deer area 27 in 2008.”

Department personnel collected tissue samples from the elk on Oct. 21. Personnel in the Wyoming Game and Fish Department Laboratory in Laramie analyzed the samples and verified the positive result on Nov. 9.

There is still no evidence that CWD is a human health risk. After a review of available scientific data, the World Health Organization in December, 1999 stated, “There is currently no evidence that CWD in cervidae (deer and elk) is transmitted to humans.” In 2004, Dr. Ermias Belay of the Center for Disease Control said, “The lack of evidence of a link between CWD transmission and unusual cases of CJD, (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a human prion disease) despite several epidemiologic investigations, suggest that the risk, if any, of transmission of CWD to humans is low.” Nonetheless, to avoid any risk, both organizations say parts or products from any animal that looks sick or tests positive for CWD or other TSEs should not be eaten.

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