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Deactivation of CWD with Bleach with Dr. Brant Race

Deactivation of CWD with Bleach with Dr. Brant Race

The Huntavore  / 

Posted on October 28, 2019

Show Notes

Nick tracks down Dr. Brant Race, a lead scientist from NIH (National Institutes of Health) who worked on the study; Inactivation of chronic wasting disease prions using sodium hypochlorite. The findings are exciting and promising for home or commercial processors who could be butchering infected deer. Using a solution of 40% bleach and a soak of 5 minutes, CWD prions can be inactivated, saving your cutlery, and non-porous cutting surfaces from infecting further butcher jobs, thus having to be pitched. With many parts of the country, including my home county in Michigan, having to face this growing problem that is showing to be very formidable. However, this may be a battle won in the ongoing war of CWD.

Show Notes

Dr. Race explained that deactivating other infectious prion diseases with bleach is “old news”, but no work had been done on CWD in cervides (classification of the deer species) with a bleach treatment. Running several simulations with infected brain matter, stainless steel rods were covered in infectious prions and submerged in different concentrations of bleach along with varying amounts of time. The now treated roda were moved over to a solution of healthy prion material. Activated infectious prions would begin mutating healthy prions, making them infectious. In-activated infectious prions can’t mutate healthy prions, meaning they couldn’t spread the infection.


Actual Study (if you enjoy scientific reading):

From the discussion, Huntavore has put together some procedures to think about when cutting up your own deer that could be infected. Mind you these are steps are being proactive, reacting to not knowing your deer is positive for CWD, rather than reactive and scrambling with the news of knowing your deer is positive,


Put down a disposable ground covering, like plastic drop cloth or construction paper (the large rolls). Place cutting table on covered area. Might want to avoid the kitchen table.

Proceed cutting up the animal making sure keep cuts in non-porous containers

Bag, seal, wrap, whatever your storing method then box up, freeze, and wait for the results (hardest part). Try to avoid grinding meat at this point.

Clean Up:

Make sure the area is WELL ventilated.

Brush fat, and silverskin, small bits on the ground cover, rollup and bag up.

Wash and scrub both table/cutting boards, and used saws or knives per usual. Removing all remaining macro bits. Rinse and let dry (to not dilute the bleach treatment.

Sack up all sponges/rags/Brillo pads that were used (wait on the test results, if positive, toss with the meat. If ok, they can be used again.)

Mix up a container of 1 to 1 parts water and household bleach. Place all cutlery in the solution, making sure bleach can get to all surfaces. Set a timer for 5 minutes, watch carefully. Pull, rinse, let dry before putting away.

In a spray bottle, filled with full strength bleach, spray down cutting boards or cutting table, as long as they are non porous. Let set for 5-7 minutes, watching the surface so it’s not damaged by the bleach. When time is up, rinse off and let dry.

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