Zombie Deer Disease: The World’s Next Big Disease Mystery

Chronic+Wasting+Disease+%28CWD%29+is+mostly+concentrated+within+the+Midwestern+United+States.
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Zombie Deer Disease: The World’s Next Big Disease Mystery

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is mostly concentrated within the Midwestern United States.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is mostly concentrated within the Midwestern United States.

Credit to nbc4i.com

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is mostly concentrated within the Midwestern United States.

Credit to nbc4i.com

Credit to nbc4i.com

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is mostly concentrated within the Midwestern United States.

Avery Pollock, Staff Reporter

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“Zombie Deer Disease,” known formally as Chronic Wasting disease (CWD), is beginning to spread across the United States. Discovered during the late 1960’s, the disease affects species of deer such as White-tailed deer, elk, moose, and even reindeer. Recently, the disease has gained more publicity due to just how fast it is beginning to spread. As of now, the disease is densely concentrated in the Midwest amongst the deer population, but scientists are beginning to warn that CWD may have the ability to spread to humans.

An article by Futurism goes over just what exactly the disease is and how it is rapidly killing deer: “Zombie deer disease” is spread by prions, pathogenic proteins that can’t be killed because they aren’t alive. They’re neither bacteria nor viruses, but once they infect an animal, they cause its cells to fold abnormally and clump together. Essentially, the prions “turn the brain into Swiss cheese.” The article goes on to explain that CWD is closely related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy, more commonly known as “mad cow disease,” and is another big reason why scientists believe that CWD can make the jump to humans: “Another prion disease — bovine spongiform encephalopathy, better known as “mad cow disease” — did make the leap to humans following an outbreak in cattle in the 1990s, and people are still dying because of it.” Will all of this being said, CWD, while not contracted in humans, is still a very serious and potentially life threatening disease. After becoming aware of the issue, junior Sierra Burns expressed slight concern, stating that, “if this gets too out of hand, we could all die, and I’m really not looking forward to that.”

While CWD is not the only type of prion disease, it is becoming more of an unstable issue amongst the deer population over others. If the spreading is not quarantined and dealt with properly, the disease may continue to spread nationally with no hope of being able to stop it.

About the Writer
Avery Pollock, Staff Reporter

Avery Pollock, junior at Wade Hampton High, comes from a small family of four, along with two very irritable Chihuahuas. Born and raised in Greenville,...

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