Health Care

Nevada wildlife officials warn hunters about ‘zombie’ deer

Nevada wildlife officials warn hunters about ‘zombie’ deer”

FILE - In this November 17, 2012, file photo, Mike Zeckmeister, a biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, removes the lymph nodes from one of three deer in a hunter's pickup truck, in order to test them for chronic wasting disease, at a checkpoint in Shell Lake, Wis. "Zombie deer" may sound like something in a bad B-movie, but wildlife regulators say they're real and officials are working to keep them out of Nevada. State Department of Agriculture veterinarian JJ Goicoechea warned earlier this year that it is probably only a matter of time until the disease reaches Nevada, the Las Vegas Sun reports. They said one worrisome scenario is hunters dumping parts from an infected animal, which could lead to ravens or other scavengers spreading the disease.

Chronic wasting disease can incubate for more than a year before animals present symptoms, so the CDC recommends hunters test meat before consuming it and avoid eating the meat of infected venison.

Chronic wasting disease is a prion disease known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, and it affects the brains and spinal cords of deer by damaging normal prion proteins with abnormal prion proteins.

The average incubation period is two to four years.

So far, Nevada has evaded the infection this hunting season.

"It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when", Wolff said. 'We know that we can't wrap Nevada in a bubble'.

'It is probable that human cases associated with the consumption of contaminated meat will be documented in the years ahead, ' Dr Osterholm, of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, told the Minnesota legislature in February. "It is possible that the number of human cases will be substantial and will not be isolated events", he told a hearing with lawmakers. Causing symptoms such as lack of fear of humans, lethargy and emaciation, it can destroy deer and elk populations.

The disease has been known to wipe out entire populations of deer. Since then, there were no recurrences of the illness in the impart.

While states across the USA have a variety of hunting regulations related to the management of chronic wasting disease, in recent weeks states such as Nevada, Iowa, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee have either warned hunters about the disease to prevent its spread or confirmed new cases.

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