Osterholm Raises the Alarm on 'Zombie Deer'

White tailed deer doe and fawn
Friday, February 15, 2019

In testimony last week before Minnesota legislators, Michael T. Osterholm expressed concern about the public health implications of chronic wasting disease (CWD), which is currently found in deer, elk and moose in 24 states, according to the Huffington Post. CWD is a "progressive, fatal disease that affects the brain, spinal cord and other tissues of animals. . . . The symptoms, which have been compared to those of zombies, may include drastic weight loss, stumbling, lack of coordination, listlessness [and] drooling." Osterholm warns, "It is probable that human cases of CWD associated with the consumption of contaminated meat will be documented in the years ahead." Studies from the Centers for Disease Control are exploring the likelihood of that method of transmission. Prof. Osterholm is Director of the Center for Infectious Disease and Research Prevention (CIDRAP), a Consortium member. He will be acting as commentator for the Feb. 28 lecture/webcast by Michael Imperiale, "The Perils of Science to Create Pathogens: Controlling Biosafety and Biosecurity Threats." Learn more and register for the event here