There is a new disease that scientists are concerned about called “zombie deer.” Research is being conducted to determine what the disease does to the body. Scientists have now seen that it can spread to primates. Scientists discovered the disease after noticing that numerous deer in North America have been dying from a mysterious illness that affects the nervous system. The illness was first seen in Colorado in 1967. Although it has been several years since the first reported cases, there has been an uptick in the number of deer that have died as a result of zombie deer disease.
The disease occurs in herds that are out in the wild and has been seen in at least 24 states. Parts of Canada have also reported deer with the disease. Zombie disease is spread through prions and is passed from one animal to another. This is one of the reasons why scientists are afraid that it could begin spreading to humans if it can’t be controlled. The prions can mutate, causing them to spread from one type of animal to another.
If an animal is sick with the disease, it can be spread through the soil that it walks on as well as plants. The proteins of the disease could linger in soil for years, and it the proteins come into contact with other viruses, they can then mutate. A deer can survive for a year or two before showing any signs. Since the disease impacts the nervous system, the deer will begin to become lethargic and have a vacant stare. Once the disease progresses, the ribs can become exposed and the saliva can thicken. The animal appears to be like a zombie instead of a deer. Although there have been no reported cases in other animals, there is always the possibility that it can happen in the future.