Scientists have warned the spread of “zombie deer disease” is a “slow-moving disaster” and urged governments to prepare for the disease possibly spreading to humans.

According to Daily Mail, the disease, which affects deer, elk, reindeer, sika deer and moose, has been reported in 32 states and parts of Canada.

“Chronic wasting disease (CWD), which leaves animals drooling, lethargic, stumbling and with a blank stare, has been found in 800 samples of deer, elk and moose across Wyoming,” Independent noted.

The CDC writes about CWD:

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a prion disease that affects deer, elk, reindeer, sika deer and moose. It has been found in some areas of North America, including Canada and the United States, Norway and South Korea. It may take over a year before an infected animal develops symptoms, which can include drastic weight loss (wasting), stumbling, listlessness and other neurologic symptoms. CWD can affect animals of all ages and some infected animals may die without ever developing the disease. CWD is fatal to animals and there are no treatments or vaccines.

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To date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people. However, some animal studies suggest CWD poses a risk to certain types of non-human primates, like monkeys, that eat meat from CWD-infected animals or come in contact with brain or body fluids from infected deer or elk. These studies raise concerns that there may also be a risk to people. Since 1997, the World Health Organization has recommended that it is important to keep the agents of all known prion diseases from entering the human food chain.

CWD draws comparisons to mad cow disease.

Some people have speculated something suspicious is happening to the wild deer population.

The alarms about CWD went off in November after a deer carcass tested positive for the disease in Yellowstone National Park.

From Independent:

“The mad cow disease outbreak in Britain provided an example of how, overnight, things can get crazy when a spillover event happens from, say, livestock to people,” CWD researcher Dr Cory Anderson told The Guardian.

“We’re talking about the potential of something similar occurring. No one is saying that it’s definitely going to happen, but it’s important for people to be prepared.”

In the UK, 4.4m cattle were slaughtered after mad cow disease spread in the 1980s and 1990s due to bovine being fed infected meat and bonemeal.

The disease, which is usually fatal for cattle, infects the central nervous system and leaves the animals with aggressive symptoms and a lack of coordination. Since 1995, 178 human deaths have been attributed to the human variant.

In 2017, 7,000 to 15,000 CWD-infected animals a year were being consumed by humans, according to the Alliance for Public Wildlife.

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Daily Mail added:

Now, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has detected the virus in 32 states and four Canadian provinces.

Much of the reported cases are in the upper midwest, as well as the mid-Atlantic states.

Kansas, Nebraska and Wisconsin have all seen over 40 counties report cases of the virus, according to USA Today.

Dr. Michael Osterholm, who studied the spread of what’s known as ‘mad cow disease,’ is the one who sounded the alarm in The Guardian, calling it a ‘slow-moving disaster.’

Scientists believe there is a very real possibility for the disease to spread to humans.

Dr. Cory Anderson and Osterholm both say many thousands of people have probably eaten meat from infected deer.

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