The ‘Zombie deer disease’

The ‘Zombie deer disease’

Zombie apocalypse?!

Zombie deers?!
Is it going to affect humans?

This is the first confirmed case of chronic wasting disease:
In October a mule deer buck died, in the middle of nowhere, miles from the nearest road, in the backcountry of Yellowstone national park, north-west Wyoming.  
The chronic wasting disease (CWD), caused by prions – abnormal, transmissible pathogenic agents for years. This disease has been spreading discreetly across North America.  Some hunters noticed a deer behaving strangely.

What does the ''zombie disease'' does:
The disease cause changes in the individual's brains and nervous systems, leaving animals drooling, lethargic, emaciated, stumbling and with a “blank stare” that made some to call it “zombie deer disease”. It spreads through the cervid family: deer, elk, moose, caribou and reindeer. It is fatal, they didn't discover any treatments or vaccines, ''neither from the animals it infects nor the environment it contaminates”, Dr Cory Anderson said.
It's been said that It’s a disease that has huge ecological implications.”

The prediction of the ''zombie disease'':
Roffe had been predicting CWD would reach Yellowstone for decades, he was warning them that they needed to take aggressive measures to help slow its spread. Those warnings went largely unheeded, he says, and now the consequences will play out before the millions who visit the park each year.

How dangerous is the ''zombie disease'' is:
The Zombie disease is invariably fatal, incurable and highly contagious, with no easy way to eradicate it.
Hundreds of thousands of elk and deer move through Yellowstone, supporting populations of grizzly bears, wolves, cougars, coyotes and other scavengers.
According to Dr Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist who studied the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or “mad cow disease” – a related prion condition – in the UK, and is director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, the disease is a “slow-moving disaster”, 
Once an environment is infected, the pathogen is very hard to eradicate. 

What species can be affected by the ''zombie disease'':
Deer, elk and moose could infect livestock, other mammals, birds or even humans. 
CWD is one of a cluster of fatal neurological disorders that includes BSE.
“They say that is probably similar to the ''mad cow'' outbreak in Britain.
What mesaure are going to be taking:
They will be testing animals for disease, and the meat from cervids that appear ill should not be consumed.
Leading wildlife management organizations give alfalfa to more than 20,000 animals to help them survive the winter.

What predators as wolves and cougars do:
Wolves and cougars detect sick animals long before humans do, and they will prey on them, removing them from the landscape and so far have been immune to CWD. 

Is it too late for humanity to avoid getting infected?
Anderson and Osterholm say many thousands of people have probably eaten meat from infected deer.
According to the US Geological Survey, CWD is now in 32 states and three Canadian provinces.

“We’re still at the front end of a scary disease event, and we don’t know where it’s headed,” 
Conservationists say feeding deer and elk in the winter and killing predators such as wolves is not helping efforts to contain CWD.  Roffe says. “You don’t feed wildlife in the face of a growing disease pandemic.”
“We’re still at the front end of a scary disease event, and we don’t know where it’s headed,” Roffe said. “There’s a lot at stake for the Yellowstone ecosystem, and a lot at stake for all Americans who enjoy having healthy wildlife on the landscape.”