Home » Zombie deer disease also present in Europe, risks for humans are being assessed: the expert’s explanation

Zombie deer disease also present in Europe, risks for humans are being assessed: the expert’s explanation

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Zombie deer disease also present in Europe, risks for humans are being assessed: the expert’s explanation

Zombie Deer Disease: Expert Warns of Possible Risks to Humans

The mysterious illness known as chronic wasting of deer (CWD), also referred to as “zombie deer disease,” has experts concerned about its potential risks to humans. The disease, caused by abnormal proteins called prions, affects cervids and has been recently detected in Europe, sparking fears about its transmissibility to other species.

Fabio Moda, a researcher at the IRCCS Besta Neurological Institute of Milan, is leading the investigation into the origins of the disease and its potential transmission to humans. While there is currently no concrete evidence to suggest a zoonotic transmission of CWD, Moda and his team are not ruling out the possibility.

The symptoms of CWD in cervids include drooling, lethargy, and emaciation, leading to the nickname “zombie deer disease.” The disease has been primarily observed in Scandinavia, affecting animals such as elk, moose, and deer. Studies are underway to detect traces of prions associated with CWD in meat intended for human consumption to ensure public safety.

One of the key concerns is the potential transmission of prions from sick animals to other species, particularly sheep. Moda and his colleagues are researching biomarkers in peripheral tissues to detect sick animals before obvious symptoms appear, as the DNA present in saliva or blood could potentially be transmitted between species.

The risks associated with prion diseases are well-documented, with past outbreaks like bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or “mad cow disease,” having already affected humans. As research continues, updates on the investigation into CWD and its potential risks to humans will be provided by experts at the IRCCS Besta Neurological Institute of Milan.

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For now, it remains a pressing issue for both animal and human health as the mystery of “zombie deer disease” continues to unfold.

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