Human Health & CWD


Can CWD Infect People?

To date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people. However, some studies raise concerns that there may be a potential risk to people. Research is ongoing. Hunters and others should take precautions when processing any game to help prevent the transmission of any potential disease.


To be as safe as possible and decrease potential risk of exposure to CWD, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that hunters in areas where CWD is found take the following precautions:

  • Strongly consider having their harvested deer tested before eating the meat.
  • If your animal tests positive for CWD, do not eat meat from that animal.
  • Do not shoot, handle or eat meat from deer and elk that look sick or are acting strangely or are found dead.
    • When field-dressing a deer:
    • Wear latex or rubber gloves when dressing the animal or handling the meat.
    • Minimize how much you handle the organs of the animal, particularly the brain or spinal cord tissues.
    • Do not use household knives or other kitchen utensils for field dressing.
  • If you have your deer or elk commercially processed, consider asking that your animal be processed individually to avoid mixing meat from multiple animals.

See our Voluntary CWD Sampling page for more information on statewide voluntary CWD sampling and testing during the entire deer-hunting season.

Processing Your Deer

Hunters and commercial processors can get information and recommendations for processing deer in CWD-positive areas from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services