'Zombie Deer Disease' Could Spread To Humans, Scientists Warn As Cases Surge In US

Experts have labeled the disease as a ''slow-moving disaster'' and are strongly advising governments to prepare for the likelihood of its transmission to humans.

'Zombie Deer Disease' Could Spread To Humans, Scientists Warn As Cases Surge In US

Researchers in the US have warned that Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) spreading among wildlife across North America, could also spread to humans, the Independent reported. Also known as 'zombie deer disease', the illness that leaves animals confused and drooling, was first detected in Yellowstone National Park in November. The disease has been found in 800 samples of deer, elk, and moose across Wyoming. 

Experts have labeled CWD as a ''slow-moving disaster'' and are strongly advising governments to prepare for the likelihood of its transmission to humans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disease has been reported in 31 states in the US.

''The mad cow disease outbreak in Britain provided an example of how, overnight, things can get crazy when a spillover event happens from, say, livestock to people. We're talking about the potential of something similar occurring. No one is saying that it's going to happen, but people need to be prepared,'' CWD researcher Dr Cory Anderson told The Guardian.

He added that it is worrying that there is no known way to eradicate it, ''neither from the animals it infects nor the environment it contaminates.''

No known case of CWD in humans has ever been recorded, according to Fox News.

However, some studies have suggested chronic wasting disease is a risk to monkeys that eat infected animal meat or come in contact with infected animal brains or bodily fluids. 

''These studies raise concerns that there may also be a risk to people. Since 1997, the World Health Organization has recommended that it is important to keep the agents of all known prion diseases from entering the human food chain,'' the CDC website reads.