Across 227 counties and 24 states, the chronic wasting disease has been detected in deer, moose, and elks. Nevada officials are warning hunters to be on the lookout for “Zombie” deer.
Before you get the wrong idea, I can assure you that these zombie deer will not be eating any brains.
Animals affected with CWD are referred to as “zombies” because they stumble around and drool uncontrollably. While there have not been any confirmed cases in the state, officials are not taking the risk.
They are urging hunters to check their deer carcasses at mobile sampling stations. The process only takes five minutes to check and does not affect the meat of the deer.
The state is going even further to prevent the disease from entering with stations set up near state lines. They have prohibited hunters from transporting carcasses from other states into Nevada.
What Is Chronic Wasting Disease?
According to the Nevada Wildlife page, CWD is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) that is found in deer and elk. It is the result of a mutation that occurs in the animal’s proteins.
It is similar to other diseases like “mad cow” disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis), but cannot infect other livestock animals or humans. However, it can spread to other deer and elk that it comes in contact with.
Which is why the state is trying to prevent it from entering in the first place.
How To Identify the Disease
Animals with CDW have trouble walking and running and will appear to stumble frequently. On top of this, the animals tend to drool uncontrollably and can be seen drinking excessively.
Any animals that show these symptoms need to be reported immediately.
Hunters should wear protective equipment when skinning carcasses and avoid prolonged exposure to the animal’s brain and spinal column.
With these protective measures in place, the state hopes to avoid the disease from entering the state and to protect hunters from any harm.