It may sound like a scene from a horror movie, but cases ofappear throughout the Midwest, and some experts warn that they could pose a danger to humans.
The disease, which is actually called chronic wasting disease, affects free-living deer, moose and moose. The disease erodes the brain, causing the animal to salivate and become lethargic in a kind of zombie-like state.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that cases of chronic wasting of disease have been reported in at least 24 states and in two provinces in Canada.
The disease is always deadly. It is believed to spread between animals through contact with contaminated body fluids and tissues. It can also be transmitted indirectly by environmental influences, eg. B. in contaminated drinking water or food.
"It's a disease you can not get rid of," said Dale Garner, Wildlife Chief of the Natural Resources Department of Iowa, to CBS Chicago. "So far there is no cure, as long as you have deer in the landscape and spread from animal to animal, you will probably have more."
So far, there have been no cases of chronic wasting disease or CWD in humans. However, some experts have expressed concerns that this could pose a threat to humans.
Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infection Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, recently warned of a similar diseasethat can be transmitted from infected cows to humans.
"It is my best professional judgment, based on my experience in public health … that it is likely that cases of human CWD associated with the consumption of contaminated meat will be documented in the coming years It is possible that there are a number of cases in humans. It is considerable and will not be isolated occurrences, "he said, according to Twin Cities Pioneer Press.
Like mad cow disease and Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease in humans, it is believed that chronic wasting disease is caused by abnormal proteins, called prions, that multiply and damage the brain and spinal cord.
To be as safe as possible and reduce the potential risk of a chronic wasting disease, the CDC recommends that people do not touch a street killer and hunters should not shoot, handle or eat meat from stags and elk that look sick or are weird act. Hunters should also wear gloves when putting on deer and have the meat tested before eating.