Uncontrollable ‘zombie deer’ could spread deadly contagious disease to humans
Scientists have warned that ‘zombie’ deer could spread a deadly and highly contagious disease to humans – and we are powerless to stop them.
Hundreds of animals have been infected as chronic wasting disease – similar to mad cow disease – sweeps across the United States.
It is now believed that deer in 26 states have been plagued by the murderous condition, which turns them into “living dead”.
The neurodegenerative disorder has been described as “rapidly progressive” and “invariably fatal” by the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC).
And it could have spread to humans already, experts say.
“We could have human transmission today and we wouldn’t even know it,” scientist Dr Michael Osterholm told The Independent.
Dr Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, explained how laboratory studies indicated that human cases of CWD were “likely” to occur in the future.
Experts say the disease is “virtually impossible to contain” and can stay in the environment for years.
The disease can incubate for over a year before any symptoms appear.
It encourages animals to be less afraid of people and also causes emaciation and loss of bodily function.
Officials in Nevada, one of the affected states, have started testing corpses and monitoring migrating animals in neighboring Utah for CWD.
But Nevada Department of Wildlife vet Peregrine Wolff warned, “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.
“We know we can’t wrap Nevada in a bubble.”