CDC issues warning over 'Zombie Deer Disease'

CDC warns of "Zombie Deer Disease" Cropped Photo: Courtesy: EPA via MGN Online

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning about a so-called "zombie deer disease" that impacts deer, elk and moose.

As of January, 24 states have reported cases of Chronic Wasting Disease, according to the CDC. That includes a case reported in Oneida County from 2005.

"CWD" is a rare progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Symptoms include weight loss, stumbling and listlessness.

While other areas of the country have seen more recent "CWD" cases, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation told CNYCentral that after the 2005 case in Central New York, they took many steps to prevent future spread of the disease.

Zombie Deer Disease,” aka Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), has not been found in New York since 2005. New York State successfully stopped CWD from spreading in the state with a rapid response plan. DEC has vigorous controls and there has been no movement of CWD into New York with regulations prohibiting importations of any carriers. New York has a risk-based surveillance program to test deer statewide annually, as well as regulations restricting importation of infectious deer parts from known CWD states and provinces. State DEC and Department of Agriculture have further adopted a CWD Risk Minimization plan which prescribes a number of other actions to prevent CWD from entering the state

DEC also created a wildlife health program in response to the CWD cases and have brought a lot of new protocols on management of wildlife health in New York. Any deer that looks suspiciously sick, DEC will take and test, according to a department spokeswoman.

For more information on the status of CWD in New York State, timeline and surveillance efforts CLICK HERE.

The CDC said the disease has also been found in farmed deer and elk. Experts warn against eating infected deer meat.

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