Prion diseases

Prion diseases (transmissible spongiform encephalopathies) are rare diseases that affect the brains of people and animals. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is the most common human prion disease. Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (sometimes called Mad Cow Disease) is a prion disease that affects cows and has been linked to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.

Animals such as deer, elk and moose can have a prion disease called Chronic Wasting Disease. No cases have been found in people so far, but there may be a small risk for people to get Chronic Wasting Disease from eating the meat of infected animals. Hunters harvesting game from a Game Management Unit where Chronic Wasting Disease has been found in more than five percent of animals should have the carcass tested before eating the meat.


Health care and public health professionals