The number of cases of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) found in Mule Deer, White-Tailed Deer, Elk, and Moose is increasing across parts of the U.S. The disease has been nicknamed the "Zombie Deer Disease" because the animals infected can appear to be like  "zombies"

Chronic Wasting Disease Has Been Found in 24 Counties in Montana

According to Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, there have been 251 total positive cases of the disease in Montana from July of 2023 to the present. It has been found in White-Tailed Deer, Mule Deer, and Elk. The disease hasn't been found in Moose, yet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, report that CWD has been found in 24 of Montana's counties.

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Scientists Have Concerns Regarding CWD

Scientists have been studying the transmission of the disease and if it can be transmitted to humans. According to the Journal of Neuroscience, and the National Library of Medicine, at this point, they are not finding that the disease can be transmitted to humans. CWD is categorized as a Prion disease, which "...are neurodegenerative diseases that affect humans and animals..." One such Prion disease that was widespread in the U.K. was "Mad Cow" disease, which peaked in 1993. Another issue is that here in Montana we hunt and eat these animals, and they could be infected.

Montana Doesn't Require Testing for CWD Yet

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks doesn't require hunters to submit samples of their harvest to test for CWD. MFWP recommends getting your harvest tested. If a hunter wants their sample tested they can submit them voluntarily. MFWP held sampling workshops last year during hunting season. As scientists continue to study CWD and its potential transmission from animals to humans, the disease continues to spread through animals in the U.S. and Montana.

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