Updated February 26th, 2024 at 09:56 IST

Is The Fatal Zombie Deer Disease A Threat To Humans? Scientists Weigh In

The Zombie Deer disease is caused by misfolded proteins. Meaning, when proteins do not fold into the correct shape, known as prions.

Is The Fatal Zombie Deer Disease A Threat To Humans? Scientists Weigh In | Image:Unsplash
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As cases of Zombie Deer Disease surge in the US and Canada, experts are worried about the effects it can have on humans. Its real name is chronic wasting disease, a contagious neurological condition which kills every animal that it infects. The Canadian province of British Columbia has released a strategy to combat the spread of this chronic condition as it continues to spread across North America.

File photo of Deer | Image: Unsplash 

More about Zombie Deer Disease

According to research, any documented transmission to humans would result in a crisis. Officials in British Columbia, have ordered the testing of any road-killed deer, moose, elk and caribou. In Canada, chronic wasting disease has previously been confirmed in farmed deer populations in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Quebec. It has also been found in three wild moose, reports the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

However, a recent confirmed case in Yellowstone national park has sparked fresh concerns about the risk posed by the disease.

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What causes Zombie Deer Disease 

This condition is caused by misfolded proteins. Meaning, when proteins do not fold into the correct shape, known as prions. After infection, prions travel throughout the central nervous system, leaving their deposits in brain tissues and other organs. The deers, which are affected by the condition, are left drooling, lethargic and with a blank stare. 

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What do scientists say?

The scientists are still investigating its impact on humans. However, other prion diseases have had a track history of affecting both animals and humans.

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According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, deer, elk, reindeer, sika deer, and moose are the affected parties of CWD. These have been discovered in Canada, the US, Norway and South Korea.

As for its transmission, CWD's prions are reportedly spread through faeces, saliva, blood, and urine.

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Published February 26th, 2024 at 09:56 IST