Zombie Deer: Fact or Fiction?

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Zombie Deer: Fact or Fiction?

There is no solid evidence to suggest we should be concerned about zombie deer. Photo credit to USA Today.

There is no solid evidence to suggest we should be concerned about zombie deer. Photo credit to USA Today.

There is no solid evidence to suggest we should be concerned about zombie deer. Photo credit to USA Today.

There is no solid evidence to suggest we should be concerned about zombie deer. Photo credit to USA Today.

Aislinn Connon, Editor-in-Chief

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The media has recently been devoting attention to a phenomenon that seems like it could only be from a sci-fi movie: zombie deer. Users of social media were sent into a frenzy when reports of these affected deer began to surge in popularity, but since many people fail to take the time to read the articles, these fears may be unnecessary. Exactly how dangerous are these zombie deer and why are they now just becoming relevant?

Firstly, the term “zombie deer” is completely unofficial. These deer are actually the unfortunate victims of chronic wasting disease, something that scientists have known about and have been studying for years. This is not a completely new and unknown illness. Chronic wasting disease is mostly seen in deer and their cousins, such as moose, elk, and reindeer, and it is a terminal condition that attacks the brain. It can take up to a year for animals to begin showing symptoms, and these include weight loss and trouble walking; the stumbling and decaying of the brain is what helped dub it the “zombie disease.”

Since chronic wasting disease has been around for so long, why is the internet only becoming worried about it now? Last week, it was stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the disease had been seen in 24 states as well as two Canadian provinces. It was also stated that this outbreak could have an effect on humans, which is all people needed to hear before they were convinced a zombie apocalypse was afoot. However, chronic wasting disease is only spread through direct contact with infected body tissue or fluids, so the only logical way it could infect a human is if someone ingested the meat of a sick deer. Even so, chronic wasting disease has never been observed in any human, and scientists are not even sure it can spread to humans at all.

The CDC has urged those who often eat deer or elk to be aware of where their meat comes from, or to completely cut these animals out of their diet until the outbreak has subsided. There is no need to believe the hype; there is no way the virus can spread through the air or without direct contact with the animal. Unless owning deer as pets becomes a new popular trend, there will be no zombie apocalypse anytime soon.

About the Writer
Aislinn Connon, Editor-in-Chief

Hello, my name is Aislinn Connon and I am the editor-in-chief for Palmer High School's Paw Print. This is my fourth year writing for the school newspaper...

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