Zombie Deer Disease: Can The Disease Affect And Spread To Human Population?

Will the zombie movies turn into reality? Just recently, a chronic wasting disease that turns deer into so-called “zombie” has become viral online and brought worries and fear to some people. 

On Monday, there were 60 confirmed cases of the chronic wasting disease in Michigan, according to Click On Detroit. The target zone in the state is 16 counties in the central and western parts. As the numbers rise, health experts are now worried because one day it could spread to the human population. 

The disease that causes “zombie deer” has spread to 24 states, including Michigan, according to the source. As of now, there are no reports of the disease in humans. However, many health experts believe it could happen to humans. The experts compare the disease with the mad cow outbreak back in the 1980s in Britain.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD), also known as “zombie” deer disease, has infected deer, elk and moose across 24 American states and two Canadian provinces, Independent UK reported. The said disease, which makes animals turn into zombies, attacks tissues, including the brain and the spinal cord. This causes dramatic weight loss, loss of coordination, drooling, excessive thirst or urination and makes the animals aggressive before they die.

Before the theory happens and to stop the spread of the disease, baiting or feeding of deer is no longer allowed in Michigan.

Avoid Infected Meat

Michael Osterholm, an expert in infectious disease from the University of Minnesota, says that up to 15,000 infected animals are eaten each year. This number could rise by 20 percent annually. 

“It is probable that human cases of chronic wasting disease associated with consumption with contaminated meat will be documented in the years ahead,” Osterholm said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised hunters to test the deer before eating its meat. If the deer appears sick or acts unnaturally, better not shoot it. 

Do not touch dead dear or any dead animals, including moose and elk. If you see dead animals and they seem sick, take note of their location.

Wear gloves whenever you are field dressing a deer. The CDC recommends hunters to wear latex or rubber gloves when handling a hunted animal and its meat. As much as possible, avoid touching organs such as the brain and spinal cord tissues.