Scientists worry about zombie deer diseases' impact on humans

February 15, 2019 06:16 PM

An illness known as zombie deer disease has now been reported in 22 states and Canada. Now, scientists are concerned about the potential impact on humans.

The scientific term is chronic wasting disease. It slowly destroys the nervous system in deer, elk and moose.

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Infected animals can live with the disease for two years before symptoms -- such as a vacant stare, thick saliva, extreme weight loss, or drooping heads are seen. It's because of those symptoms that the fatal disease got its "zombie" nickname.

A recent study showed the illness could be transmitted to a type of monkey genetically similar to humans. The monkeys contracted the disease after eating infected deer or elk meat.

So far, no cases have been reported in humans since it was first reported in 1967. However, the new study results raise concerns that CWD may present a risk.


WNYT Staff

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