American Chronic Wasting Disease Foundation
With no cure and infection rates climbing, Chronic Wasting Disease poses a systematic threat to deer and elk populations across the country. Our foundation aims to eliminate CWD through research, prevention, and education.Donate
CWD is currently present in 23 states. However, scientists warn of incidents closing in on unaffected state lines. Impacted states report infection rates of nearly 10%, with localized rates spiking to 25%. For fishing, hunting, and wildlife agencies, this progressive neurological disease has reached near crisis levels. Affected animals experience irreversible brain and spinal cord damage ultimately leading to death. 1
CWD infection rate in a sampled captive deer population
Once CWD is detected in an environment, it can spread rapidly. Currently, scientists believe CWD proteins (prions) are transmitted via body fluids including feces, saliva, blood, and urine; or through direct or indirect contact to contaminated soil, food, and water. These proteins linger in the environment long after the infected population is removed, leaving susceptible animals exposed. 2
Hunting is a key driver of the country’s outdoor recreation economy. From clothing and gear to licensing and lodging, the sport is an essential revenue generator nationwide. In impacted populations, public agencies that regulate hunting and deer and elk farming have been forced to absorb substantial costs to address CWD.4
Scientists are racing to find a cure for CWD. Our goal is to eradicate the disease using DNA-based technologies for assisted breeding. Our team aims to identify environmental risks, implement blood draw diagnostic tests, generate a vaccine for prevention, and educate current breeders. All of our research is executed in close coordination with TPWD and Animal Health.
Every Dollar Helps
Your contribution will help support the endless hours of research required to stop this devastating disease. Join us in reducing the prevalence of CWD in white-tailed deer and other susceptible cervid species.