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Chronic Wasting Disease: Death of 2 hunters in US raises fear of zombie deer disease spreading in humans

The specter of COVID is still fresh in everyone’s mind about how disease which originates from animals can create havoc on the health of humans. The scientific community is worried after a new report which outlines how the death of two hunters who were stricken by a rare neurological disease was caused by eating infected deer meat.

The two hunters who consumed the meat of a Deer infected by “zombie deer disease” started showing symptoms of a rare neurological disease known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and died within a month. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) affects the proteins which are malformed and start collecting in the brain causing damage to the brain cells. The disease is somewhat akin to the Mad Cow Disease and there is no treatment available for the ailment. The person starts losing his cognitive abilities and death can occur within one to six months.

Chronic wasting disease was first found in the deer inhabiting the northern Colorado and southern Wyoming in the 90’s and as per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disease was also detected in free-ranging deer, elk and moose in at least 32 states across the US.

When a deer is infected by CWD or Chronic Wasting Disease it leads to extreme weight loss, poor coordination, drooling, and lack of fear of people. The Medical fraternity is worried of the possibility of the disease being transmitted to humans much like the Mad Cow Disease which was pandemic in the UK in the 90’s. The latest study was published in 2022 by a group of scientists in Canada based on mice research, suggesting a risk of CJD transmission to humans.

Researchers from the University Of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio have discovered that the two hunters who ate deer meat and died in 2022 suffered from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), which is a neurological disease. Both the men developed symptoms like confusion and aggression and died within a month despite treatment.

The researchers added that there was a distinct possibility of the transmission of the disease from animal-to-human. The report was presented earlier this month at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, and published in peer-reviewed journal Neurology. The report did not make it clear where the men lived or hunted but the highest concentration of CWD-infected deer can be found in Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Wyoming as per CDC.

Manoj Nair

Manoj Nair: With a decade of news writing across various media platforms, Manoj is a seasoned professional. His dual role as an English teacher underscores his command over communication. He adeptly covers Politics, Technology, Crypto, and more, reflecting a broad and insightful perspective that engages and informs diverse audiences.

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