Zombie deer disease epidemic: What danger for humans?

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The dangers of deer pathology for humans

A neurodegenerative condition called zombie deer disease is currently affecting deer, with symptoms reminiscent of the famous Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. These animals, including species such as elk and reindeer, once infected, inevitably suffer a fatal fate as this prionic disease is inexorably fatal.

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Clinical manifestations in affected animals

This condition causes disturbing signs in animals such as remarkable weight loss, involuntary jerks, frequent falls, salivary hypersecretion, among other neurological disorders. These symptoms are the origin of the popular name of this condition, which echoes the erratic and disoriented behavior of zombies.

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Muscle twitches
  • Unexpected falls
  • Excess salivation

Geographical extension of the scourge

The expansion of this pathology is observed not only on the North American continent but also reaches other regions of the world such as several countries in northern Europe and Southeast Asia. This geographic increase is a source of health concerns.

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The risk of interspecies transmission

Faced with the increase in the number of cases, the scientific community is wondering about the possibility that this disease crosses species boundaries to affect humans. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, calls it an “insidious catastrophe” and calls for vigilance.

In a 2021 joint report, international organizations such as the WHO, the World Organization for Animal Health and the United Nations Environment Program recognized that wild animals are responsible for more than 70% emerging infectious diseases in humans, often caused by new viruses. These infections that can be transmitted from animals to humans are called zoonoses.

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Summary table of key information

Name of the disease Geographical areas concerned Human risk Reference organizations
Zombie Deer Disease United States, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, South Korea Potentially zoonotic WHO, OIE, UNEP

In conclusion, although there are currently no proven cases of zombie deer disease being transmitted to humans, it is crucial to remain alert to future developments and monitor any possible developments that could represent a danger. for public health. Research continues to monitor the spread of this disease and its potential interspecies risks.

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