ZOMBIE DEERS – real or fake?
A lot of you guys are writing in asking about the Zombie Deer news that is going around right now. But is this for real? Or just another creepy pasta gone viral. I’ve got the answers right here.
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Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk (or “wapiti”), moose, and caribou. As of 2016, CWD had been found in members of the deer family only and it is unknown whether it can spread to humans at this time. In 1967, CWD was first identified in mule deer at a wildlife research facility in northern Colorado, United States. It was initially recognized as a clinical “wasting” syndrome and then in 1978, it was identified more specifically as a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). Since then, CWD has spread to free-ranging and captive animal populations in 26 US states and three Canadian provinces. CWD is typified by chronic weight loss leading to death. No relationship is known between CWD and any other TSEs of animals or people.
Although reports in the popular press have been made of humans being affected by CWD, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests, “[m]ore epidemiologic and laboratory studies are needed to monitor the possibility of such transmissions”. The epidemiological study further concluded, “[a]s a precaution, hunters should avoid eating deer and elk tissues known to harbor the CWD agent (e.g., brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils, lymph nodes) from areas