White-tailed deer, mule deer, moose, and elk are currently under plague from Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The Tennesee Wildlife Resources Agency reported this disease is progressive and fatal.
Out of the 3000 deer tested for the disease, 185 deer were positive. Testing should start again next fall where it is hopeful the disease will either stay stagnant or disappear altogether.
CWD, sometimes called the ‘zombie’ disease, causes damage to parts of the brain that creates holes in brain cells, causing a sponge-like appearance. Creatures infected with the disease are usually emaciated, lose bodily functions, become weak, show abnormal behavior, and eventually die.
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Looks into Zombie Disease
The disease is not a living organism, according to Matthew Cameron, part of TWRA. Because the disease is not alive, it can spread rapidly and is not easy to kill off. This causes it to be even more difficult to deal with.
TWRA previously stated the disease did not affect humans. Currently, the Center for Disease Control & Prevention claim that human infection is in fact, possible.
Cameron states that from what they can tell through research, humans cannot contract the disease from eating the infected animal. However, the CDC recommends no one eat any known infected deer in the meantime.
Back in 2017, the CDC reported on a new study. The study showed monkeys who ate infected deer meat did, in fact, contract CWD.
For now, there are no known human cases with CWD. For now, the CDC is warning the public in the infected areas to test their venison or elk meat for the disease before eating it.
Signs in the animal include a loss of appetite, weight loss, excessive thirst and urination, excess salivation, teeth grinding, listlessness, drooping of the ears, and lowering of the head.
More information on where this has been detected can be found here.