In 1967, a captive Rocky Mountain elk and mule deer were the first cases of chronic wasting disease. Chronic wasting disease is not mad cow disease for deer, although they show similar signs in affected animals. Most believe it came from a similar condition known as scrapie, which affected domestic sheep in the early part of the last century. Chronic wasting disease may occur spontaneously in the wild, which is possible for this type of infection.
Chronic wasting disease is a contagious neurological disease that affects mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose, elk, and reindeer. Chronic wasting disease is transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE), also known as prion diseases. These are a group of progressive, invariably fatal, conditions that affect the brain and nervous system of many animals, including humans.
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