A second North Carolina deer has just tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), aka “Zombie Deer Disease”.
According to a press release from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, the deer was tested as part of ongoing CWD surveillance efforts across the state. The infected deer was discovered less than a mile from where the first positive case was found about 8 months ago.
“With deer season opening in less than a month, we wanted to get the news of this second positive out as quickly as possible,” noted Wildlife Commission chief Brad Howard. “It’s imperative that hunters understand how important it is to submit samples to help determine how prevalent CWD is here in North Carolina. It’s also crucial that we enlist their help to not give the disease a ride to new areas.”
The disease quickly spreads through the brain and spinal column of infected animals, causing drastic weight loss, drooling, listlessness, aggression, and lack of fear of people, according to the CDC.
CWD is in the same family as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which the CDC describes as “a rapidly progressive, invariably fatal neurodegenerative disorder.”
It’s not yet a direct threat to human infection, but scientists warn against any human contact as the disease continues to change.
The CDC notes that “animal studies suggest CWD poses a risk to some types of non-human primates, raising concerns that there may also be a risk to people.”
According to Michael Osterholm, The University of Minnesota’s Director of The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, CWD must be treated with the utmost caution, as he believes the risks to humans could be substantial, given such little knowledge.
“We are in an unknown territory situation,” he commented in a USA Today report. “It is probable that human cases of chronic wasting disease associated with consumption of contaminated meat will be documented in the years ahead. It’s possible the number of human cases will be substantial and will not be isolated events.”
Here’s a video of a dear likely affected with new disease;
To read more about the disease and its continued migration click here.