Officials at Yellowstone National Park confirmed their first case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) on Tuesday.

The disease is caused by “infectious, misfolded variants of proteins which slowly destroy the animal’s brain and nervous system.

It has been referred to as a "zombie" disease. because the symptoms include stumbling, drooling, and the drastic loss of body mass. The animal looks like a zombie from a movie.

CWD is transmitted through contact with bodily fluids, such as feces, saliva, blood, or urine.

What to do about it is a problem for the park service. There are currently no known treatments or vaccinations for the disease.

There are attempts, when the disease is found, to containment and perhaps controlled burning of impacted areas is tried.

These methods never really remove all of the threat.

Most attempts to eradicate this disease have failed.

While CWD is not known to infect humans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that “some animal studies suggest CWD poses a risk to certain types of non-human primates, like monkeys,” which “raise[s] concerns that there may also be a risk to people.”

The United States Geological Survey, says that the federal government spent $280 million on CWD from 2000 through 2021, including more than $16 million in indemnity payments to cervid farmers.

The CDC is urging hunters to avoid animals that look sick, are found dead, or act strangely when hunting in areas known to be infected.

Anyone visiting Yellowstone should do the same.

This disease is not like rabies. The animals are not dangerous.

But they are very sick and they are spreading that sickness to other animals.

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