``Zombie deer disease,'' which causes deer to look like zombies, is rampant in the United States.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a type of prion disease that affects deer, and when it develops, symptoms include staggering, lethargy, decreased social interaction, drooling, rapid weight loss, and loss of consciousness. It is also called 'zombie deer disease' because the symptoms appear and you look like a zombie. It is said that such zombie deer disease is spreading in the United States, and experts explain what kind of risks there are.

'Zombie deer disease' epidemic spreads in Yellowstone as scientists raise fears it may jump to humans | Wildlife | The Guardian

Zombie deer disease is spreading and scientists are concerned that it could jump to humans

Zombie deer disease, which causes deer to look like zombies, was first discovered in 1967 in an animal housed in a research facility in Colorado, USA, and has since been confirmed to develop in animals in the wild one after another. . At the time of writing, the disease has been confirmed in wild individuals in the United States, Canada, Norway, Finland, Sweden, etc., and cases of the disease in captive individuals have also been reported in South Korea.

The cause of zombie deer disease is a contagious abnormal protein called prion , which is the same as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease: BSE) . Prions propagate by transmitting misfolded proteins, affecting the structure of the brain and nervous tissue and causing neurodegenerative diseases.

Zombie deer disease can be transmitted to other animals by coming into contact with the feces or saliva of an infected animal, or by ingesting contaminated food or water. Because prions are proteins rather than viruses or bacteria, they are difficult to deactivate because they are resistant to traditional disinfection methods such as formaldehyde , radiation, and high-temperature incineration, and they can remain in the environment for years. It is said that there is. At the time of writing, there is no vaccine or treatment, so it is extremely difficult to control the spread of zombie deer disease.

In recent years, zombie deer disease has become widespread in the United States, and in November 2023, the first case of zombie deer disease infection

was confirmed in Yellowstone National Park located in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Samuel White, a senior research fellow in veterinary medicine at Nottingham Trent University in the UK, and colleagues point out that the spread of zombie deer disease is ``a growing concern among scientists, conservationists, and the general public.'' doing.

The first concern is that zombie deer disease poses a potential health risk to humans. At the time of writing, there have been no reported cases of zombie deer disease infecting humans, but research has confirmed that the prions that cause zombie deer disease infect human cells and multiply. Other prion diseases, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and mad cow disease, are also known to spread across species; mad cow disease outbreaks in the UK have killed 178 people since 1995 and caused millions of deaths. A cow with the largest head was culled.

It is believed that there are already multiple cases in which humans have hunted and eaten individuals infected with zombie deer disease. According to the Alliance for Public Wildlife, a wildlife protection group, it is estimated that between 7,000 and 15,000 zombie deer were eaten by humans in 2017, and that number is expected to increase each year. You can 'In areas with high rates of zombie deer disease, such as Wisconsin, thousands of people may have unknowingly eaten meat from infected deer,' White et al. 'This underscores the urgency of taking action.'

Another challenge is that early diagnosis of prion diseases such as zombie deer disease is difficult because unlike conventional infectious pathogens, they do not induce an immune response. Furthermore, since it is difficult to inactivate prions and remove them from the environment, it is necessary to consider the possibility that prions can be transmitted to humans through contaminated water or soil.

A second concern is that the decline in deer populations due to the spread of zombie deer disease will have negative economic and environmental impacts. Deer hunting is not only a popular recreation in North America, but also a livelihood for some communities, so population declines will hurt these people. Additionally, a rapid decline in deer populations could have a knock-on effect on the ecosystem.

To address the many challenges posed by zombie deer disease, White et al. ``A comprehensive and coordinated approach is needed, including ``encouraging hunting practices that minimize the risk of infection'' and ``implementing strict biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of infection.'' 'By listening to scientists' warnings and taking decisive action to reduce risks, we can protect wildlife and humans from zombie deer disease and other zoonotic diseases. ” he said.

in Science,   Creature, Posted by log1h_ik