The Osterholm Quotes

"There is an immediate and critical need for national leadership on addressing CWD, and the CWD Program establishes the University of Minnesota as both the national and international center for CWD response, research, education and policy."
"We don't have a generation to get an answer. How can we fast forward? It can't be business as usual. We can't decide we are going to take on programs that may take decades before they are realized."
"Regardless of whether CWD reaches humans, it's going to be a hell of a wildlife disease problem no matter what. But it could be a lot more than that. We could have a BSE nightmare, an American version of it, all over again."
"Feeding wildlife and bunching animals together concerns me greatly [about CWD risk]. That to me is as close as you're going to get in a cervid to migratory waterfowl, and when disease affects migratory birds it gets moved around quickly."
"Look at the accelerating number of cases. This is out of control in the wildlife populations....In Iowa County, Wisconsin, almost 40% of some wild deer herds are CWD positive, which means they are going to die and before they do they'll expose others. What does that mean? We don't know but the prospects are frightening."
"Is there going to be potential cross exposure [to cattle] and would that happen? The ag people can’t just back out of the conversation about it potentially reaching livestock and, of course, public health officials need to be paying attention to the human side."
"What the hell happens when you introduce CWD into meat processing environments? If somebody's deer or elk comes through and it's contaminated, what does that mean for everything else behind it? I'll tell you: it's not good because it’s not easy to sterilize and decontaminate places and surfaces that become tainted with BSE prions."
"The last thing we want to have happen is for hunting as a tradition and a management tool to be reduced....However, we need to face the facts and make sure people are protected [against CWD] by providing the best available knowledge."
"I've seen the same thing with CWD [as with BSE] and I've been extremely concerned about, how again, from an agricultural standpoint, the captive cervid farming groups have so misled and challenged us with what they don't do to stop this."
"I think Beni still reflects basically a major success. The case we had this past week was a contact case. I for one am very positive on the activities that are going on over there and what they're doing to try to limit this. But, at the same time, I'm also the first to say expect the unexpected in situations like this."
"I don't know for sure in 10 years if we will have CWD transmission in humans, but it surely could happen. I do know that I don't want us to one day 10 years from now be remorseful for what we could have done to prevent transmission. My job is not to scare people out of their wits but to scare them into their wits.''
"We're concerned not just about people eating infected venison, but also the potential cross-contamination of the meat processing system."
"There are enough data that suggest that it is unclear and it [seeing human cases of chronic wasting disease] surely is a potential. The only responsible position we can take is to try to limit the exposure of humans to infected venison."
"My job as an epidemiologist is not to be a historian and record history. My job as an epidemiologist is to be an interventionist and change the future."
"I would do everything I could to make sure we had a highly sensitive, easy-to-use test for chronic wasting disease that could be used in the field. You'd know right there on the spot: Is this animal infected or not?"
"If I was the benevolent dictator of chronic wasting disease, I would virtually try to eliminate game farms. They've demonstrated time and time again that they can't be assured to be good citizens in terms of trying to stop the transmission of this prion."
"To date, CWD has really been handled largely as a wildlife-management issue. It has not been handled as a human health issue. Because there haven't been any cases, and so of course we tend to wait. This is one of the challenges of a disease like this, particularly when the incubation period is potentially so long."
"First of all, we've got to get rid of this damn 'zombie' label. I think it minimizes the issue of what's happening. And there's nothing zombie about this chronic wasting disease, any more than calling humans with neurologic disease zombies. It's just wrong."
"The real test we need is for a deer that’s killed, so people know whether the meat they're eating is infected [with chronic wasting disease]."
"We don't want to find out 10 years from now that we should have been doing something in 2019 [about chronic wasting disease] but didn't."
"People have to understand the significance of this. We can't wait until we have the first [human CWD] cases coming."
"Given the general sense by most countries that smallpox will not again be a serious public health challenge, it’s unlikely that we will see much investment in developing and stockpiling these fourth-generation vaccines any time soon."
"How will those drugs be deployed in countries where a smallpox outbreak might emerge? There are still many challenges considering how the limited supplies of both vaccine and drugs would be distributed. An intentional attack launched simultaneously in multiple global regions would complicate the response still further."
"Most bioterrorism preparedness experts agree that the likelihood that smallpox could return and cause a devastating regional or even global outbreak remains very low. Nonetheless, because of the potential consequences of such an outbreak, I believe that society has no choice but to have at least a moderate level of preparedness."
"Measles makes an infected child into a viral Uzi."


Newsletter Sign-up

Get CIDRAP news and other free newsletters.

Sign up now»


Unrestricted financial support provided by

Bentson Foundation Gilead Become an underwriter»