The CDC is issuing updated warnings about the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease, or ‘zombie deer disease’.
It’s been increasing in populations of wild deer and elk in the midwest and moving toward the East Coast. Infection rates are now found to be as high as one in four.
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.