Experts: Deadly "zombie" deer disease may eventually spread to humans; take precautions

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    Experts are warning the public that the deadly "zombie" disease affecting deer in 24 states as well as two Canadian provinces may eventually spread to humans, according to Fox 59.

    Our source spoke with expert Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, who says that human cases will likely be “documented in the years ahead.”

    It's known as "chronic wasting disease," originating from a family of rare neurodegenerative disorders that can affect both humans and animals, the CDC says.

    They say symptoms include drastic weight loss (known as wasting), stumbling, listlessness. It may take over a year before animals display these symptoms.

    The disease has been documented in the following states: Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, according to the CDC.

    Read more below about prevention from the CDC's website:

    • Do not shoot, handle or eat meat from deer and elk that look sick or are acting strangely or are found dead (road-kill).
    • When field-dressing a deer:
    • Wear latex or rubber gloves when dressing the animal or handling the meat.
    • Minimize how much you handle the organs of the animal, particularly the brain or spinal cord tissues.
    • Do not use household knives or other kitchen utensils for field dressing.
    • Check state wildlife and public health guidance to see whether testing of animals is recommended or required. Recommendations vary by state, but information about testing is available from many state wildlife agencies.
    • Strongly consider having the deer or elk tested for CWD before you eat the meat.
    • If you have your deer or elk commercially processed, consider asking that your animal be processed individually to avoid mixing meat from multiple animals.
    • If your animal tests positive for CWD, do not eat meat from that animal.

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