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CRIME NEWS     CRIME ANALYSIS     TRUE CRIME STORIES
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CRIME NEWS     CRIME ANALYSIS     TRUE CRIME STORIES
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 April 19, 2024

Two hunters 'become first Americans to die from ZOMBIE DEER disease'

Two hunters succumbed in 2022, potentially due to a disease known among wildlife, which has raised alarms over new public health concerns.

Last year's death of two hunters, feared to be connected to Chronic Wasting Disease from consumed venison, marks a possibly unprecedented crossover to humans, Daily Mail reported.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was first identified in Colorado in 1967 in captive deer. Known to trigger drastic symptoms—such as severe confusion, drooling, and an abnormal lack of fear—this disease has proven nearly 100 percent fatal in affected wildlife.

Despite this disease being well-documented among deer, elk, and moose populations across 32 states and parts of Canada, it had never been known to impact humans until recently.

The discovery of potential human cases occurred when two hunters tragically passed away in 2022 after exhibiting symptoms startlingly similar to those caused by CWD. They had routinely consumed venison.

Understanding the Disease's Transmissibility and Effects

Postmortem analyses of these individuals revealed Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), a human prion disease that resembles CWD. These findings prompted greater scrutiny of how CWD might be able to affect humans.

Prion diseases involve abnormal folding of proteins in the brain, leading to serious neurological symptoms. Both CWD and CJD result in the accumulation of these proteins, but many experts previously dismissed the thought that CWD could jump species.

Given these hunters' histories, researchers are now considering whether CWD-infected deer meat was the vector for their disease, marking a potentially monumental shift in understanding these diseases.

Research and Public Concerns Intensify

In 2023, a study published in Neurology hinted at possible human transmission, underlining a critical need for further research.

The researchers noted, 'Although causation remains unproven, this cluster emphasizes the need for further investigation.'

This revelation has understandably rattled public nerves and galvanized the scientific community to ascertain the potential human transmission vectors and prevent possible outbreaks.

The spread of CWD among deer occurs via bodily fluids or contact with contaminated environments, suggesting similar pathways could exist for CJD if deer and humans share prion strains.

Lessons to Learn from This Tragedy

The tragedy of the two hunters serves as a grim reminder of our vulnerability to diseases that can cross species barriers. Here are three precautions to consider:

  1. Be extremely diligent about sourcing venison and other wild game, ensuring they are free of any disease indicators.
  2. To understand emerging risks, support and keep up-to-date with ongoing research on transmissible diseases like CWD.
  3. Promote solid regulatory measures and guidelines for hunting and handling of potentially infected animals.

Although proactive steps can reduce risk, it's crucial to acknowledge that unpredictable events like this can occur to anyone, and victims should not be blamed.

Why This Story Matters

This case isn't just about two hunters; it's a potential public health issue that could affect many more people. The possibility of a disease known to decimate wildlife populations jumping to humans is a chilling reminder of the interconnectedness of ecosystems and human health.

Understanding and addressing these risks goes beyond the individual, involving communities and global health systems to monitor, manage, and hopefully prevent such diseases from making more victims.

Keeping the public informed and prepared is essential in these scenarios, where knowledge truly can be the difference between safety and crisis.

In conclusion, the deaths of the two hunters potentially linked to Chronic Wasting Disease from consumed venison represent a dire need to reassess how we understand and interact with natural ecosystems. It underscores the importance of vigilance in monitoring wildlife diseases and their potential to influence human health.

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Written By: Rampart Stonebridge

I'm Rampart Stonebridge, a curious and passionate writer who can't get enough of true crime. As a criminal investigative journalist, I put on my detective hat, delving deep into each case to reveal the hidden truths. My mission? To share engaging stories and shed light on the complexities of our mysterious world, all while satisfying your curiosity about the intriguing realm of true crime.
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