Livin' on the MDedge

Cancer-battling breath, Zombie Bambi, and hops as health food


We’ll just have the salad

Zombies, beware: You might want to eat us, but now, we can eat you.

Stag Whiteway/Getty Images

Okay, “zombie” deer aren’t actually zombies, but they are infected with something almost as terrifying. Chronic wasting disease is a prion disorder similar to bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, and has been found in deer across 24 U.S. states as of January 2019.

While venison is less commonly eaten than beef, if mad cow disease can make the jump to humans, can people who eat meat infected with chronic wasting disease also become infected?

Thanks to an Oneida County, N.Y., fire company and a 2005 Sportsmen’s feast we’re sure someone’s never heard the end of, we know the answer to be “no.”

The fire company accidentally served meat from a deer that was infected with chronic wasting disease, and more than 200 people were exposed. A group of about 80 of these individuals have been monitored since then by a research team from the Oneida County Health Department and the State University of New York at Binghamton. At the most recent follow-up, no individual had developed the disease.

Experts do caution that it’s entirely possible chronic wasting disease will make the jump to humans eventually, despite the species gap. But for now, you can enjoy without fear your sweet ironic revenge on those zombies.


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