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Hunters are encouraged not to consume meat from animals known to be infected.
The origin of CWD is unknown, and it may never be possible to definitively determine how or when CWD arose.Several subspecies of Sika deer and red deer hybrids housed in captive cervid facilities in Korea have reportedly contracted CWD from infected elk.Susceptibility of other members of the deer family (cervids) and other wildlife species is not entirely known, although ongoing research is further exploring this question.The apparent persistence of the infectious agents in contaminated environments represents a significant obstacle to eradication of CWD from either captive or free-ranging cervid populations.The movement of live animals is one of the greatest risk factors in spreading the disease into new areas.The maximal incubation period is unknown, as is the point at which shedding of the CWD agent begins during the prolonged course of infection.
Because CWD infectious agents are extremely resistant in the environment, transmission may be both direct and indirect.
Concentrating deer and elk in captivity or by artificial feeding probably increases the likelihood of both direct and indirect transmission between individuals.
Contaminated pastures appear to have served as sources of infection in some CWD epidemics.
Natural movements of wild deer and elk contribute to the spread of the disease, and human-aided transportation of both captive and wild animals greatly exacerbates this risk factor.
The apparent spread of CWD between captive and wild cervids is a matter of hot debate.
Though many observers try to compare CWD with “mad cow disease”, the diseases are distinctly different.