Zombie Deer?



This dear suffers from Chronic Wasting Disease SOURCE: KDWPT

Katelyn Macomber

Over the past few days, a new topic has been trending across the news and social media. Deer are being compared to zombies. People have become fearful about what has happened to wildlife as a result of this disease. Deer, in particular, have been diagnosed with Chronic Wasting Disease. This condition causes deer to lose brain cells and become unable to walk, deal with loss of awareness,  and several other symptoms.

Chronic Wasting Disease, also known as CWD, is caused through ingesting protein from other animals. According to the United States Geological Survey, this condition affects animals who eat nervous system tissue that include prions. Prions are a misfold of proteins which results in refolding, causing this severe fatal disease. Throughout the United States,  many deer have been tested and diagnosed with CWD. In Pennsylvania, according to pa.gov, over 1,449 deer have tested positive. A recent study done by Food Safety News shows that once an ill deer dies, the disease can then be transferred by grass within the area. Many animals are then exposed.

People are fearful because of how there is no cure for this disease. Some worry that this disease may spread to humans. According to the Alliance of Public Wildlife, North Americans consume between 7,000 to 15,000 CWD infected animals a year every year. Even though there has been no reported case of CWD in humans reported, the Alberta Prion Research Institute has done a study with animals having similar genetics as humans were tested positive for contracting the disease. Because of these kinds of cases,  experts have yet to uncover how this may harm humans. According to CDC, humans can avoid the risks of obtaining Chronic Wasting Disease by refraining from hunting, handling or eating meat from deer or elk.