CDC: Chronic Wasting Disease spreading in US, could infect humans

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Center for Disease Control issued a warning about a deadly disease spreading in the United States. 

Chronic wasting disease, known as the “zombie deer disease,” is an illness that infects the brain, spine and tissue of deer, elk and moose.

According to the CDC, the disease gets its start infecting prion proteins in the brain, and is passed through contact with contaminated body fluids and tissue.

Afflicted animals show symptoms such as emaciation from forgetting to eat, excessive drooling and stumbling.

There are no treatments or vaccines for CWD, and the disease is fatal.

As of January 2019, CWD in free-ranging deer, elk and/or moose has been reported in at least 24 states in the continental United States, including three counties in North Dakota (Grant, Divide, Sioux), as well as two provinces in Canada.

In addition, CWD has been reported in reindeer and moose in Norway and Finland, and a small number of imported cases have been reported in South Korea.

The CDC has raised the alarm about the potential for CWD to infect humans most notably since July 2017, when a study found monkeys who ate infected deer meat contracted the disease.

NBC News reported many experts are worried that the disease could transfer to humans through consumption of deer meat. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told state lawmakers this past week that he’s concerned that might happen soon.

“It is probable that human cases of chronic wasting disease associated with consumption with contaminated meat will be documented in the years ahead,” he told the Minnesota legislature last week. “It’s possible the number of human cases will be substantial, and will not be isolated events.”

There is no known case at this time of CWD in a person.

However, the CDC has warned the public to test venison or elk meat for CWD before eating it from areas with documented infections.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Recent Videos

KX Storm Team #OneMinuteForecast w/Tom Schrader 2/19

Thumbnail for the video titled "KX Storm Team #OneMinuteForecast w/Tom Schrader 2/19"

What is the difference between high and low pressure in weather?

Thumbnail for the video titled "What is the difference between high and low pressure in weather?"

Amber's Wednesday Morning #OneMinuteForecast 2/19

Thumbnail for the video titled "Amber's Wednesday Morning #OneMinuteForecast 2/19"

Wednesday Forecast: Sunny & cold before a big warm-up

Thumbnail for the video titled "Wednesday Forecast: Sunny & cold before a big warm-up"

Big and Loud Program

Thumbnail for the video titled "Big and Loud Program"

High School basketball

Thumbnail for the video titled "High School basketball"

Mandan-Minot girls hockey

Thumbnail for the video titled "Mandan-Minot girls hockey"

Shiloh Christian Boys Bball

Thumbnail for the video titled "Shiloh Christian Boys Bball"

St. Mary's Girls Bball

Thumbnail for the video titled "St. Mary's Girls Bball"

Hettinger-Scranton

Thumbnail for the video titled "Hettinger-Scranton"

Boys Hockey

Thumbnail for the video titled "Boys Hockey"

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020 - KX Storm Team Evening Forecast - Dave Holder

Thumbnail for the video titled "Tuesday, February 18th, 2020 - KX Storm Team Evening Forecast - Dave Holder"

Minot Bike Lanes

Thumbnail for the video titled "Minot Bike Lanes"

Coronavirus in Animals

Thumbnail for the video titled "Coronavirus in Animals"

KX Storm Team Full Evening Forecast w/Tom Schrader

Thumbnail for the video titled "KX Storm Team Full Evening Forecast w/Tom Schrader"

Remarkable Woman

Thumbnail for the video titled "Remarkable Woman"

Fish Kill

Thumbnail for the video titled "Fish Kill"

Hemp Flowers

Thumbnail for the video titled "Hemp Flowers"

KX Storm Team #OneMinuteForecast w/Tom Schrader 2/18

Thumbnail for the video titled "KX Storm Team #OneMinuteForecast w/Tom Schrader 2/18"

Spill

Thumbnail for the video titled "Spill"
More Video

KX News Trending Stories

Don't Miss

Daily Pledge

More Daily Pledge