Does this sound like the name of a horror movie? Well, the “zombie deer disease” is spreading across the Midwest and seems to be a threat to human beings. “Zombie deer disease” is also called as a chronic wasting disease. It is said to affect animals like deer, moose and elk. In this disease, the brain of the animal erodes away. Due to this, the animals salivate and get into a lethargic, zombie-like state. As per the reports of CDC, this disease is rising in about 24 states including 2 provinces in Canada. This is a fatal disease. As per the experts, it spreads through contact between the animals. The body fluids and tissues contaminate in this disease.
Wildlife chief, Dale Garner said that no one can get rid of this disease. So far, there isn’t any cure for it. The expert says that until the deer exist on Earth and the disease spreads through animal to animal contact, this disease will remain. Till today, there haven’t been any cases of chronic wasting disease found in humans. But, some experts are concerned that it can be a threat to human beings as well.
The director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, Michael Osterholm, warns that this disease is a bit similar to mad cow disease. Mad cow disease could transmit from infected cows to human beings. He also said that this was his judgment as per his experience in public health. He added that if people eat contaminated meat, then there are chances that the disease is passed on to human beings as well. He said that such cases in humans will be substantial.
Like Creutzfeldt-Jacob and mad cow disease in humans, the new “zombie deer disease” i.e. chronic wasting disease is thought to be caused because of prions, the abnormal proteins, which damage the spinal cord and brain. Experts say that people should avoid touching the road killed animals and avoid eating the meat of elk, deer, moose, etc. as a preventive measure. Also, the meat should be tested before eating.