‘Zombie’ deer disease: Why deer with CWD are actually nothing like zombies


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CWD is an always-fatal disease that leaves their brains full of holes. What is this always-fatal condition and how do people fight its spread? Wochit-All

Many hunters and wildlife experts have found the latest headlines around the “zombie” deer disease bizarre, as they say chronic wasting disease has been around for years — and they wouldn’t describe infected animals as “zombies.”

In fact, many infected deer don’t even reach the final stage of the disease, where they show symptoms (stumbling, drooling, extreme weight loss), said Lindsay Thomas Jr., director of communications for the Quality Deer Management Association, a wildlife conservation organization.

He said it’s “baffling” to think of a deer dying from CWD as a frightening “zombie.” He instead compares the disease to dementia, as infected animals appear more confused than threatening.

While the term could give the general public the wrong impression about CWD,
Krysten Schuler, wildlife disease ecologist and co-director at the Cornell Wildlife Health Lab, said the disease is “a big problem” and she’s glad more people are paying attention to it. People just need to be properly informed, she said.

CWD, which is fatal to all deer that contract it, was first identified in the 1960s, and is now in 24 states across the nation. It’s a serious infectious disease in animals, but likely won’t spark an apocalypse.

Here’s why:

Many appear totally normal.

Infected deer could easily die from another cause (killed…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

As content editor, I get to do what I love everyday. Tweet, share and promote the best content our tools find on a daily basis.

I have a crazy passion for #music, #celebrity #news & #fashion! I'm always out and about on Twitter.
Sasha Harriet

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