Health Care

A Dangerous Deer Disease could spread to Humans

A Dangerous Deer Disease could spread to Humans”

Till now it has been spread to around 24 states, and experts claim that this disease will soon spread to humans also.

This week, Michael Osterhold, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, issued a warning on possible effects on humans to state lawmakers.

Chronic wasting disease turns deer into so-called "zombies", and experts are anxious it could one day spread to the human population. Having no treatment and vaccines, the prion disease falls into the category of fatal diseases.

The center says scientists believe the contagious disease is passed between animals through bodily fluids.

There have been no documented cases of humans contracting CWD, but recent research shows that it can be transmitted to other animals - including primates.

"It's possible the number of human cases will be substantial, and will not be isolated events".

Minimize how much you handle the organs of the animal, particularly the brain or spinal cord tissues.

There have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people, CDC says, and "to date, there is no strong evidence for the occurrence of CWD in people;" but if CWD could spread to people, "it would most likely be through eating of infected deer and elk".

In the United States, the disease has been detected in deer in 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.

It has an incubation period of over a year, with some animals not showing symptoms for years after being infected, the CDC said.

When asked the chances of humans becoming infected with CWD, Osterhold compared it to a 'throw at the genetic roulette table'.

The symptoms in animals affected with CWD make take over a year to be apparent. In 2000 it was known that the disease is present in at least 20 states, usually encountered among free range animals.

'People have to understand the significance of this. "We can't wait until we have the first cases coming", concluded Osterholm. The CDC has written "Once CWD is established in an area, the risk can remain for a long time in the environment".

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