What Is The Zombie Deer Disease?


Drawing by Chris Ambroziak on Art Station

Ina Bakkar

We all know of creatures like Mothman, the supposed hybrid of a human with moth wings/features that haunts Point Pleasant West Virginia, or the Goat Man Bridge, where supposedly a demonic goat-like human creature resides, pushing off any unwanted visitors. One you may not have heard of would be The Not Deer, a cryptid native to the Midwest, and supposedly can be seen during long drives at night or when camping in the region. The Not Deer is described as a deer with no fear of humans, too many or too few joints, Human-like features, a sharply visible ribcage, and a deathly cold stare. The thing is that most of these behaviors can be explained by Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). As stated by the CDC “CWD is a progressive, fatal disease that affects the brain, spinal cord, and many other tissues of farmed and free-ranging deer, elk, and moose.” 


There have been no cases in Washington as CWD is spread via Prions, often found in blood, saliva, and other body fluids, as well as direct contact with an infected animal/Infected Environment. The highest concentration of cases is in Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Montana, most states around the middle of the U.S. The infected animals in this area would have no contact with animals in other areas unless infected animals were to be imported to other states, the disease can stay relatively well contained. Symptoms of CWD Include Drastic weight loss (wasting), Stumbling, Lack of coordination, Listlessness, Drooling, Excessive thirst or urination, and Drooping ears. Though it is hard to diagnose an animal with CWD as these symptoms also tend to match up with symptoms of malnutrition. 


Epidemiologists (Researchers who study the source of a disease and identify symptoms) with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that there is no evidence that people who eat wild game or hunt are at a higher risk for Prion-related than your average consumer. There have also been no known reports of CWD transferring to humans. It is Interesting how cases of CWD and EHD can spark the human imagination to create monsters and cryptids lurking in the night.