Zombie Deer Apocalypse?


Courtesy of USA Today

CWD, or chronic wasting disease, slowly spreads throughout the deer population in certain areas of the Unites States.

Tiffany Vo, Photojournalist

Recently, across the United States, animals, especially deer, have been recorded as behaving and looking almost dead. A calamitous disease has plague the wilderness, leaving animals with a “swiss cheese” brain and a lifeless body.


As of January 2019, 254 counties in 24 states have reported sightings of the “zombie deer disease,” or chronic wasting disease (CWD), according to specialists. The maniac was first labeled in the 1960s and is similar to the mad cow disease. Because it is spread by prions, pathogenic proteins that are not living, the disease is cannot be treated nor killed. When an animal becomes infected, the illness eats away at their brains, leaving holes and causing them to experience symptoms that mimic dementia and eventually lead to fatality (wyff4.com).


As for the origin of CWD, it is “unknown, and it may never be possible to definitively determine how or when CWD arose”, according to cwd-info.org.


Once infected, an animal experiences multiple physical disruptions including: noticeable weight loss, lack of coordination, drooling, excessive thirst and urination, and lack of awareness and fear, giving off a zombie-like appearance.


Although it has only been discovered in deer, elk, moose, and caribou due to contaminated water, food, and soil, Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, predicts that there could be possibilities of the fatal disease spreading towards different animals, including humans. Despite a lack of strong evidence, there exists the fear of humans consuming infected meat and becoming ill. According to newshub.co, Osterholm warns that “it is probable that human cases of chronic wasting disease associated with consumption of contaminated meat will be documented in the years ahead.”


In order to avoid contaminated food and decrease the risk of coming in contact with CWD, experts warn hunters and regular citizens against interacting with the wilderness as much as possible. Therefore, hunters should stray away from dead animals that look sick and rotten (roadkill) and should always have their meat tested before consuming it. Health officials and wildlife management professionals recommend that hunters should follow “common sense measures” when addressing meat.


Some states have also taken the lead on “reducing the density of animals” in certain areas to slow the “transmission of the disease.” With this, there could be selective culling, or killing, of animals that are believed to inhabit the illness. Colorado, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Saskatchewan aim to dramatically reduce the cervid population in areas that CWD have been discovered in.

Despite the seriousness of the situation, some can admit that the news is humoring due to the twisted reality of “zombies.” Courtney Poon (12) admits that because she was such a huge fan of the television series The Walking Dead, a show revolving around the concept of surviving during a zombie apocalypse, she found the situation “alarming yet amusing.” Since Americans have “grown up with zombie stories,” learning about this news will “scare lots of people due to the confirmation that this reality can actually exist.”