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The strange zombie disease continues to spread in North America



A new study shows that people are also at risk

US authorities are currently reporting the proliferation of an enigmatic disease, called "zombie disease" by the US media. The name is derived from the symptoms of the disease because patients present with drastic weight loss, coordination difficulties, increased salivation, lack of anxiety and aggression. Until now, only animals, mainly moose and deer, are affected. In the laboratory, however, it has become clear that monkeys can also be infected. Thus, according to US authorities, there is also a danger to humans.

Researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are currently warning against a proliferation of "zombie disease". This is chronic debilitating disease (CDD), which affects mainly deer, elk and reindeer (eg, elk, white-tailed deer). According to the CDC, recent studies raise fears that people will also be at risk. The disease is fatal in animals and there is currently no treatment or vaccine.

  Is the European idea of ​​zombies rooted in voodoo? (Photo: Tabthipwatthana / fotolia.com)
A disease that turns people into zombies is a popular topic in horror movies. The disease of chronic wasting, which is currently spreading to animals in the United States, is probably the closest to this scenario. and is therefore also called "zombie disease". (Photo: Tabthipwatthana / fotolia.com)

No human cases known to date

The US Agency reported that no case of MDC infection in humans has been reported so far. "Studies in animals suggest, however, that CWD poses a risk for some species of monkeys," the authorities warned in a statement. Laboratory studies have shown that monkeys eating meat from animals infected or coming into contact with cerebral or body fluids also contracted MDC. Thus, the human infection can not be excluded.

United States, Canada, Norway, Finland and South Korea affected

According to the CDC, in January 2019, the disease was transmitted to at least 24 US states and two Canadian provinces deer and elk live and raised high . Cases have also been reported in Norway and Finland. In addition, the infected meat was imported to South Korea, where the first cases were subsequently reported. "Once MDC appears in an area, pathogens can stay in the environment for a long time," say health officials.

The map shows the areas where the disease has already spread. (Photo: Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

High Contagious Potential

High potential for infection has been observed in deer and elk. Thus, the disease has been transmitted to one in ten animals in the wild in the affected areas and to one in four in densely populated areas. The infection rate even reaches 79% in breeding animals in confined spaces.

Researchers believe that the disease may be due to contact with bodily fluids such as stool, saliva, blood or urine. Animals is spreading. The pathogen is an abnormally folded protein, which can be transmitted by body fluids. According to US authorities' observations and assessments, the protein can remain in the environment (water or soil) without a host for a long time, also infecting animals that have not had direct contact with an infected animal.

Disease Profile

MDC is progressive. , a deadly disease that affects the brain, spinal cord and many other tissues. The disease belongs to the family of so-called prion diseases in which harmful proteins are responsible for the symptoms. For example, mad cow disease, which manifests itself in humans as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, is also part of this family. Researchers believe that abnormal proteins (prions) damage other healthy proteins in the body, causing considerable damage to the entire body, but mainly to the brain and spinal cord. CWD ends in all cases fatal. The incubation period of MDC can last more than a year, until the onset of the first neurological signs. Typical symptoms include:

  • drastic weight loss (underweight),
  • coordination difficulties,
  • difficulty walking,
  • indifference,
  • constant drooling,
  • intense thirst,
  • ] frequent urination,
  • Ears,
  • loss of fear of humans,
  • increase of irritability,
  • aggression.

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