March 24, 2019

'Zombie Deer Disease' Warning Issued By CDC

22 February 2019, 10:26 | Silvia Roy

Andrew Malone CC

Zombie Deer Disease Detected in New York

Since previous year, the condition, popularly known as the "zombie deer disease, has spread across both the United States and Canada".

Chronic wasting disease, also known as a "zombie" deer disease is in Utah, the Center for Disease Control stated Tuesday. Prion diseases are a family of rare progressive neurodegenerative disorders that affect both humans and animals, according to the CDC.

Since the 1960s when the zombie deer disease has been spotted for the first time, there were no recorded cases of humans infected with CWD.

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Among counties affected in the KMZU listening area are Adair, Grundy, Linn, Macon, Mercer, Moniteau and Sullivan. But what exactly is it and could it spread to humans?

The reason to be concerned is in the past the disease did not appear to affect humans. They documented the potential for CWD to be passed from deer to humans as far back as 2004. The only known way to stop the dread is by hunting infected animals. Once an animal becomes infected, the disease tends to spread quickly within a population. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited a 2017 study that found evidence that monkeys that ate infected deer meat contracted the disease.

"Nevertheless, these experimental studies raise the concern that CWD may pose a risk to people and suggest that it is important to prevent human exposures to CWD", according to the CDC. "It's possible the number of human cases will be substantial and will not be isolated events". It is believed that the most likely route of transmission is through consuming infected meat.

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Osterholm compared the situation to the mad cow disease that killed cattle in the United Kingdom in the 1980s and 1990s. In areas where the disease is common, the CDC recommends that hunters strongly consider testing the animals before eating their meat and/or checking with local wildlife or public health departments regarding their testing policies.

What precautions can people take?

More than two-thirds said they've eaten venison or elk meat. It advises people not to shoot, handle or eat meat from deer that look sick, act strangely or are found dead.

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