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Zombie Deer Disease: Scientist Fears Spread to Humans

Zombie deer disease could spread to humans after the first-ever case was detected in Yellowstone National Park last month.

Scientists have issued a warning about the potential spread of a virus known as "Zombie deer disease" to humans after the first case was identified in Yellowstone National Park. The fatal brain virus, which causes animals to become confused, drooling, and unafraid of humans, has raised concerns about the possibility of infecting people. After a deer carcass tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Yellowstone National Park, scientists are now cautioning about the potential of a spillover event from animals to humans, similar to the BSE (mad cow) outbreak in Britain. The virus has spread to more than 31 US states, two Canadian provinces, and South Korea, making it a widespread concern.

Dr. Cory Anderson, the program co-director at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, has emphasized the importance of being prepared for the potential spread of the disease to humans. CWD is an incurable, invariably fatal, and highly contagious disease that affects deer and related species, causing weight loss, loss of coordination, and other fatal neurological symptoms. While there is currently no evidence that CWD can infect humans or domestic animal species, the World Health Organization has recommended keeping the agents of all known prion diseases from entering the human food chain.

The discovery of CWD in Yellowstone National Park has prompted park officials to revise the park's 2021 CWD surveillance plan. Researchers in Illinois have found that the amount of clay in soil can affect the spread of the disease, with higher clay concentrations helping to stop the illness. Park officials are working to identify which areas of the park are at increased risk from the disease and increase collaborative efforts with wildlife agencies to monitor and manage the spread of CWD. Montana state wildlife regulators are also assisting in the effort and monitoring game caught by local hunters to prevent the spread of the disease.

The potential spread of "Zombie deer disease" to humans is a growing concern, and efforts are being made to monitor and manage the disease in affected areas. It is essential to stay informed about the disease and take necessary precautions to prevent its spread.

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