Federal Researcher Won't Eat Wisconsin's 'Mad Deer'

The outbreak of what has been dubbed 'mad deer disease' in Wisconsin is gathering national media attention from Business Week, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. Most articles downplay human health risks. Given the long invisible latency of such diseases in humans, it might not be proven for decades whether or not people can die from handling or eating infected deer. Dr. Byron Caughey, a government National Institutes of Health researcher who is an expert in the field of mad cow-type diseases, says that he would not eat venison from the area of Wisconsin where chronic wasting disease, CWD, has been discovered. Says Caughey, "The risk may be small but it's not a risk I'd want to take." A recent study showed that the British human death toll from mad cow disease is doubling every three years and now exceeds 100. The eventual toll is predicted to go as high as 100,000 dead in the decades ahead, but no one knows for sure.