Wednesday, 16 October, 2019

'Zombie deer': Nevada officials warn against spread of sickly elk, deer

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Gustavo Carr | 08 October, 2019, 09:57

Cases of chronic wasting disease or CWD have been reported in Allegany County in Maryland and Culpeper, Frederick and Shenandoah counties in Virginia, officials said.

The situation is dire as officials fear the disease, which causes lethargy and emancipation, will devastate deer and elk populations.

He added: "If Stephen King could per chance write an infectious illness contemporary, he would write about prions take care of this".

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recommends that humans avoid exposure to the disease and consuming meat from infected deer.

The disease does not always show symptoms.

"There is a real possibility that there could be transmission to humans", Mr. Osterholm said. "And it is going to spread into Nevada", said J.J. Goicoechea.

Osterholm compared CWD to "mad cow" disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, noting that "many in the public health and beef industry did not believe mad cow disease could infect people", until researchers discovered the variant now known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which infected and killed over 150 people in the United Kingdom in the 1990's.

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According to the CDC, there are no confirmed cases of CWD in people but studies have shown there is a risk when the disease comes into contact with non-human primates, such as when monkeys eat meat from an infected animal. Hunters should have all game tested before they consume any animals they kill.

States also have different regulations and precautions to contain CWD.

Nevada also provided a ban earlier this twelve months on bringing determined animal body aspects into the deliver, in conjunction with the brain and the spinal cord that can possess sizable concentrations of prions. It will not affect the rest of the deer's meat or its antlers, wildlife officials report.

So far, there is no evidence that chronic wasting disease can cross species from deer to humans. The hunting area is closer to wintering elk feedgrounds, causing concern that the disease could spread to elk populations.

The symptoms of this disease exhibited by infected animals are drooling, stumbling and drastic weight loss.

States reporting animals with the disease include Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming, with regulators now trying to stop the spread to Nevada.