Authorities warn hunters to look out for 'zombie deer '

The deadly disease has already been reported in 24 US states

The deadly disease has already been reported in 24 US states

The Las Vegas Sun reports the term relates to animals that have contracted chronic wasting disease - a highly contagious and terminal disorder.

The situation is dire as officials fear the disease, which causes lethargy and emancipation, will devastate deer and elk populations.

The prospects of "zombie deers" running amok have gotten worse throughout the year and Nevada regulators are trying to keep them out of the state.

However, reports said officials have tested dead animals, and are keeping tabs on migrating deer and elk coming over Nevada's border from Utah.

If that wasn't bad enough, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that chronic wasting disease could threaten humans.

To try and keep it out of the state, Nevada has banned bringing some deer parts into the state-including brains.

Those studies raise concerns that humans could also be affected. Prion diseases severely damage brain tissue and are incurable.

The number of Kansas counties with the disease is up from 27 earlier this year.

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Some studies show that animals are contagious before symptoms start. The illness can abolish deer and elk populations.

In testimony about the proposed law, Tyler Turnipseed, chief Nevada game warden, posed a scenario where local populations are infected by exposure to butchered waste dumped by a hunter passing through Nevada from another state.

Peregrine Wolff, a Nevada Department of Wildlife veterinarian, said she knows Nevada is not totally immune to the sickness.

There's a low risk of transmission to humans, but the CDC warned hunters that the species barrier may not fully protect them from contracting the animal disease.

Dr Osterholm, who is director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told lawmakers that laboratory research suggested it was "probable" that human cases of CWD would occur in future.

The CDC also says CWD can take up to a year for an infected animal to feel the effects of the disease.

"In watching the patterns as they progress through Colorado into Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, up into Montana now, it's spreading".

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