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Here's why the 'zombie deer disease' spreads so fast



(WVLT) – Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a disease that has impacted: white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. It is progressive and fatal, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

"We had 185 out of 3000 deer that we tested, 185 positives," said Matthew Cameron with TWRA. "

The disease causes damage to the portions of the brain, creating holes in the brain cells and causing a sponge-like appearance. Animals with the disease are usually emaciated, display abnormal behavior, lose bodily functions, become weak and then eventually die.

"It's not a living organism, it spreads easily and can not be killed very easily, so it spreads quickly and easily because of that," said Cameron.

Previously, TWRA said the disease did not appear to affect humans. Now, however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say infection in humans is possible.

"The CDC recommends that no one eat the deer if it is a known infected alert," said Cameron.

According to the CBS affiliate WJHL, the CDC reported that a 201

7 study showed monkeys who ate infected deer meat contracted CWD.

As of now, there are no known cases of humans with CWD. The CDC has warned the public to test venison or elk meat for CWD before eating it from affected areas.

Signs in animals include: loss of appetite, excessive salivation, weight loss, excessive thirst and urination, looseness, teeth grinding and lowering the head and drooping of the ears.

For CWD facts, go here. To find Tennessee areas impacted by CWD, go here.


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