New Mexico reports cases of 'Zombie Deer Disease' | KOB 4
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New Mexico reports cases of 'Zombie Deer Disease'

Casey Torres
February 22, 2019 06:37 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— As of January 2019, 24 states have reported “zombie deer disease” cases, according to to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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New Mexico is one of those states with Otero, Socorro and Dona Ana counties reporting the disease in deer.

“It’s not something new. It’s actually been around for quite a while. The real name is Chronic Wasting Disease,” said veterinarian, Dr. Daniel Levenson.

He said it’s a nervous system disease that mostly infects deer and elk. Some reports on affected moose are starting to be seen.

"They're wobbly. Ataxic. But mostly behavior changes. They can have seizures. And then it's always fatal once the symptoms start to show up,” Dr. Levenson said.

He said the reports in south New Mexico are of a small herd of deer. The first reported case of CWD in New Mexico was 20 years ago, according to Dr. Levenson.

There is no cure or treatment for CWD. The only known way to stop the dread is by hunting infected animals.

Dr. Levenson says it’s probably impossible to completely get rid of it.

"So far, there have not been any reported cases contagious to people, but this is a disease that happens very slowly and it could show up years from now,” he said.

Any meat hunters gather can be tested for CWD by the New Mexico Game and Fish. People should not touch or eat the brain, spinal cord, spleen, or lymph nodes of a deer they think could be infected.

Dr. Levenson advises people to not eat any deer meat just to be on the safe side. He doesn’t believe people should be worried about the disease.New Mexico reports cases of 'Zombie Deer Disease'

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Casey Torres

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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