The zombie apocalypse is nothing more than just a product of human’s wild imagination, which is usually depicted in movies and TV shows. However, up until recently, a strange and deadly disease, which turned deers into zombies, has been disturbing North America.
Experts called the disease as ‘Chronic Wasting Disease’ which currently affects deer, elk, and moose in 24 states and two Canadian provinces. The virus itself targets the brain, spinal cord, and tissues of the animal infected causing aggressiveness, loss of concentration, drooling, lack of fear of people and restlessness. The phenomenon has been widely discussed on news reports as it coninues to sweep across North America.
Although previous reports indicated that the disease is nothing people should be scared of, Michael Osterhold, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, already warned the public that this could very well spread into humans in the years to come.
However, as of this week, Osterhold issued again another warning to his state lawmakers about the impact CWD could have on humans. A report from USA Today, confirmed that there is a high probability that humans will be infected by the disease associated with consumption of contaminated meat.
“It’s possible that the number of human cases will be substantial, and will not be isolated events,” Director Osterhold said.
The disease was linked to the illness of Mad Cow Disease which had a major effect on agriculture in the UK during 80s and 90s and killed almost 160 people.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that eating deer meat would be the likeliest way for humans to get contacted by CWD, with an estimated 7,000 – 15,000 infected animals consumed each year by Americans. Although there is no definite answer yet whether this will cause a human crossover, Osterholm says the likelihood will increase, following the observation report on macaque monkeys discovered eating the said meat.
Four years ago, CWD was being monitored in the wild. Since 2000, the area known to be affected by CWD in free-ranging animals rises to at least 24 states including states in Midwest, Southwest, and selected areas on the East Coast. It is now even possible that this disease may also occur in other states and countries without strict or proper implementation of animal surveillance systems.
As of now, the disease is spreading further across the states as more and more people report cases of infected animals. According to the concluding statement of Osterholm, people have to be aware of this kind of phenomenon and the government should take necessary actions before the first case happens in humans.