There is a very chronic disease spreading across the whole of the United States. This disease is called “chronic wasting disease.” Many experts believe it could potentially spread to the human race next. We know this disease as “zombie deer disease,” and it has been found in 24 states as well as two Canadian provinces.
Starting from the brain it spreads towards the spinal cord and the end result is death. The ones affected show aggressive behavior loss of weight, excessive drooling. Michael Osterholm believes humans may be the next target of this disease. Michael worked with the Center for Infectious Disease as a director. Currently, it is spreading fast among deer, elk and moose.
He also stated that this disease may spread after contaminated meat is consumed. A warning was issued in this regard. He believes we will get to know of the human disease. He believes it is similar to the mad cow disease that spread in the UK between the 80s and 90s and took the lives of over 150 people.
This disease was discovered about 40 years back but it is still seen only in deer since the 1960s. Not a single case has been reported in humans. However, studies show the disease can spread to other animals. Center for disease control and prevention suggested the disease may end up spreading to humans from infected animal meat. Every year around 15000 deer are infected. Experts believe this number will increase by 20% every year.
Let us look at the possibilities of spreading of this disease in humans.
According to Michael, these possibilities can be compared using a genetic roulette table. Human body immunity and the random possibility of disease spread are a few causes. North Colorado and southern Wyoming states have reported this disease in deer, however in other areas this disease was reported, but not in large numbers. Researchers have shown fear of it spreading across the country.
Ever since 2000, CWD reports have shown that this disease has spread to 24 states. Be it in southwest, Midwest and even east coast. It is possible it is present in other states but not reported. The risk however remains. The areas affected will expand. However, humans must understand and take this disease seriously.
One Republican named Ralph Abraham took very serious note of this disease when it spread in his own state Louisiana. He believes prevention and cure is the solution. A bill has been introduced to stop the spread of this disease. Fox News reported that it’s important for people to take it seriously as a cause of spread is not known. The bill urges the secretary of state and department of agriculture to find out how the disease is spread among deer or other species.
The scientists are present to start studies, but the funds are not there. He believes agencies should be providing financial help. He wants the bill to be passed so necessary actions can be taken. He believes the passing of the bill is a couple of months away. The deer affected have shown illnesses like lack of coordination, stumbling, drooling, aggressive behavior, lack of fear of people etc. The affected deer had vacant stares and their ribs were exposed. This is how this disease was named.
Vaccines and treatment are not possible at this point since not much info has been discovered about this disease. Scientists are looking for ways and the causes of this disease. Some believe it can spread directly as well as indirectly. It is either spread through contact of two animals or with urination, saliva, contamination of water etc. There can be other ways too. However, discovery showed it is not that a bacteria or virus spreads this disease. They believe it is the infectious proteins without associated nucleic acids that cause the disease to spread.