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The deadly "zombie" elephant can ultimately spread to humans



ST. Experts warn that a deadly disease affecting deer in 24 states – including Colorado – and two Canadian provinces – may spread to humans.

Last week, experts from the University of Minnesota told lawmakers in the Capitol of Minnesota about the dangers of chronic disease wasting, according to the Twin Cities pioneer press.

While there are no human cases reported, Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Research and Policy on Infectious Diseases at the University of Minnesota, told MPs that human cases are likely to be "documented in the coming years."

Chronic illness was first identified in deer at the end of the 1

960s in Colorado and the Red Deer in 1981, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms include sneezing, stumbling, lack of coordination, lack of fear of people, aggression and apathy – which explains the zombie

The disease is considered a prion disease. Prion diseases are a family of rare progressive neurodegenerative diseases that affect humans and animals, according to the CDC.

"If Stephen King could write a novel about infectious diseases, he would write about such prions," Osterholm said. In October, the North Carolina Wildlife Commission introduced a new rule for 2018-2019 banning the import of deer carcasses and limiting the import of specific carcasses from outside North Carolina to prevent the spread of chronic diseases. In the United States the disease is found in deer in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas , Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Since 1997, the World Health Organization has recommended to protect agents from all known prion diseases from entering the human food chain.

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