Canadian deer struck by zombie disease, humans may be at risk too
- Chronic wasting disease (CWD), given the moniker, Zombie disease, is wreaking havoc on deer herds across western Canada.
- CWD is highly communicable and lethal to animals, with no treatments or vaccines available.
- According to the CDC, there is no significant evidence of CWD in humans to date, and it is unknown if people may contract CWD prions.
A mysterious and highly contagious sickness is sweeping Canada's deer population. According to health professionals, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is an issue in at least two Canadian provinces: Alberta and Saskatchewan.
CWD is a disease that affects deer, elk, reindeer, sika deer, and moose, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It goes on to say that CWD is lethal for animals and that there are no therapies or vaccines available.
The virus was originally discovered in the United States in the 1960s and then traveled to Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Montana. It has been found in 26 US states so far.
The first instance of CWD in Canada was discovered in an elk farm in Saskatchewan in 1996, and it quickly spread to wild deer.
Is it dangerous?
CWD could be transmitted to humans by eating sick deer or elk, according to the CDC. As a result, hunters are more susceptible to the sickness.
They could catch the virus by mishandling the carcass, which could cause blood or brain matter to enter the body, or by simply eating the meat.
Is it possible for humans to become infected?
When cooked, the prion protein that causes CWD does not degrade and stays infectious. The CDC, on the other hand, claims that there is no strong evidence of CWD in humans to date, and that it is unknown if individuals may become infected with CWD prions.
However, the health agency has advised people to reduce their chances of contracting the infection by not shooting, eating, or handling the meat of sick deer, wearing latex or rubber gloves when dressing the animal or handling the meat, and not dressing meat with kitchen knives.
According to experts, CWD causes an affected animal's brain to lose control. Excess salivation, lack of coordination, strange behaviour, excessive urine, and weight loss are among the symptoms specified by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for animals afflicted with CWD.
Some people have dubbed CWD "zombie disease" because of its external characteristics. Clinical indications normally occur in animals between the ages of three and four years, however signs have been reported in animals as young as 15 months and as old as thirteen years. They can also pass the virus on to others through their urine and saliva.