Zombie Deer Disease

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About a dozen years ago I was researching Mad Cow Disease. I don’t remember why. If something interests me I’ll do a deep dive on it. In the course of my research I remember discovering a similar disease in deer. I didn’t see a lot of information on it. No one seemed to be freaking about it, so I wondered if it was all hype.

What interested me about both Mad Cow Disease and the deer version was its similarities to CJD.  Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is an infectious disease that causes the brain to degenerate. Mad Cow is thought to be caused by the same agent responsible for “Variable CJD.”

Although I haven’t heard much about the deer version, lo and behold it’s surfaced again. Now they’re calling it Chronic Wasting Disease or Zombie Deer Disease. I guess it just needed a catchy label. Who makes up these names?


The above is a link to the Daily Mail article on the disease.

Infected deer have been found in 26 states. There are fears that Zombie Deer Disease can cross the species barrier. “Officials are urging precaution to minimize any potential risks.” I haven’t the slightest idea what that means. I guess it would be a good idea to avoid questionable venison.

So, now to keep you up at night we’ve got both Mad Cow and Zombie Deer. It’s almost enough to make you a vegan. (Except that I do love burgers.)


10 thoughts on “Zombie Deer Disease”

  1. It’s been called Chronic Wasting Disease for a while. Hunters can’t always bring deer meat across state lines.

    There’s a Christmas tree farm near us which straddles the state line. Because their reindeer were on the PA side, they were prohibited from bringing them into MD for Santa’s arrival at the mall. At that time, it was known in PA but not in MD.

    • Thank you for the info, Denise. My level of ignorance is pretty high on this stuff. I think Chronic Wasting Disease sounds better than Zombie Deer Disease. Maybe the new name is an attempt to garner public awareness.

  2. I live in north central Minnesota which is quite rural. Hunting is very popular here (I hate deer hunting season because those high powered rifles shoot bullets so darn far and not all hunters are familiar with the area and not all are careful) There is a deer farm and trophy hunting preserve not far from where I live and CWD was found there a couple years ago—and now a dead deer was found about a half mile from that farm that had CWD. So it’s a real big deal around here. We can’t even feed birds except in feeders that are at least 8 feet high. So many birds don’t feed in hanging feeders or are ground feeders. Plus it’s really hard to manage feeders that high up—-have to use a ladder and in the winter it’s quite unstable in all our snow and ice.

    • Is that so you don’t accidentally feed the deer? Since the deer was found so close to you does that pose a problem with domestic animals? I don’t know if CJD can go from deer to a dog, for example.

      • They don’t want us to feed deer—-or have anything around that they will come to get. I don’t think they really know what they are doing—-just trying whatever they think will work.

        • That is really scary, Sue. If you find out if it can be transmitted to pets, let me know. I haven’t been able to discover anything along those lines.

  3. My sister had a lifelong friend who died of CJD. It was assumed she had eaten tainted meat while in England years before. It was very tragic. I have family members who are hunters so I will pass this information along to them. Thank you for the PSA!

    • Evidently, it’s quite a concern in parts of the country. I confess to being wildly ignorant about it, but it seems scary, doesn’t it?


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