'Zombie Deer Disease'

“Zombie Deer Disease” Threatens Humans: Understanding the Risk

Last Updated: 28 December 2023By

In recent months, a dire warning has echoed across the scientific community in the United States: Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), also ominously known as ‘zombie deer disease,’ might pose a potential threat to humans as cases surge among wildlife in North America.

 ‘Zombie Deer Disease’:

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a contagious and fatal illness affecting cervids, including deer, elk, caribou, reindeer, and moose. The disease is caused by a malformed protein (prion) that accumulates in the brain and other tissues, leading to physiological and behavioral changes, emaciation, and ultimately death.

 Warning from US Researchers :

US researchers have sounded the alarm, emphasizing the urgent need for preparedness as they label CWD a ”slow-moving disaster.” The disease was first detected in Yellowstone National Park, triggering concerns due to its potential impact on both wildlife and humans.

 Spread and Detection

'Zombie Deer Disease'

A. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Origins
CWD’s origins trace back to Yellowstone National Park in November, with subsequent cases identified across Wyoming. The disease has been found in 800 samples of deer, elk, and moose, signifying its widespread prevalence.

B. Cases in Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park serves as a hotspot for CWD, raising questions about its transmission dynamics and the challenges posed by its presence in such a diverse wildlife ecosystem.

C. Surveillance Results
Governments are actively advised to prepare for the likelihood of CWD transmission to humans, given the continuous surge in cases. Surveillance results indicate a worrying spread across 31 states in the US.

 The Severity of CWD:

A. Description of ‘Zombie Deer Disease’
Termed ‘zombie deer disease’ due to its impact on animals, CWD leaves them confused, drooling, and exhibiting unusual behavior. Experts highlight the severity of this disease as a potential long-term threat.

B. Expert Views on CWD as a ‘Slow-Moving Disaster’
CWD researcher Dr. Cory Anderson compares the potential impact to historical events like the mad cow disease outbreak in Britain. The slow-moving nature of CWD demands serious attention and proactive measures.

C. Government Advisory
Governments are strongly advised to prepare for the possible spillover from wildlife to humans, acknowledging the unpredictable nature of infectious diseases.

 Potential Threat to Humans

'Zombie Deer Disease'

A. Comparison with Historical Outbreaks
Dr. Anderson draws parallels with the mad cow disease outbreak, emphasizing the need for preparedness. While no one predicts an immediate crisis, acknowledging the potential is crucial.

B. Concerns Raised by CWD Researcher
Dr. Anderson expresses concern over the lack of known methods to eradicate CWD, both from infected animals and the contaminated environment. The absence of a cure or vaccine adds to the urgency.

C. No Known Eradication Method
One unsettling aspect of CWD is the absence of a known method for eradication, raising questions about its long-term consequences on wildlife and potential spillover to humans.

Human Transmission Possibility

A. Lack of Recorded CWD Cases in Humans
Fox News reports no known case of CWD in humans, providing a momentary reassurance. However, the absence of recorded cases doesn’t dismiss the potential threat.

B. Studies Indicating Risks to Primates
Studies suggest that primates, particularly those consuming infected animal meat or in contact with infected brains or bodily fluids, could be at risk. The World Health Organization has long emphasized preventing the entry of prion diseases into the human food chain.

C. World Health Organization’s Recommendation
The World Health Organization’s recommendation since 1997 underscores the importance of keeping agents of known prion diseases away from the human food chain, highlighting the potential risks associated with CWD.

'Zombie Deer Disease'

Understanding CWD

A. Definition of ‘Zombie Deer Disease’
Chronic Wasting Disease is not just a threat to wildlife; it poses potential risks to ecosystems and human health. Understanding the disease is essential in developing effective strategies for containment.

B. Causes and Transmission
CWD is caused by prions that can transmit through direct animal-to-animal contact or indirectly through infectious particles in the environment. Contaminated feed or pasture can also contribute to the spread among animals.

C. Symptoms in Animals
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that symptoms in deer may take over a year to develop, starting with drastic weight loss, stumbling, and loss of energy. Presently, there is no cure or vaccine for CWD.

CWD’s Impact

A. Long Incubation Period
The prolonged incubation period of CWD raises concerns about its potential undetected spread, posing challenges for timely intervention and containment.

B. Lack of Cure or Vaccine
The absence of a cure or vaccine adds to the urgency of addressing CWD, emphasizing the need for research and preventive measures.

C. Current Status According to CDC
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide updates on the current status of CWD, urging vigilance and awareness in affected regions.

The Unknown Future

A. Unpredictability of CWD Spread
CWD’s unpredictable nature complicates efforts to predict its future spread and assess the true extent of the threat it poses to both wildlife and humans.

B. Environmental Contamination Challenges
Contamination of the environment, including soil and vegetation, presents challenges in controlling the