Officials confirm 'zombie deer disease' in elk in Oklahoma

(File photo via

Combined ShapeCaption
(File photo via

Officials confirmed Wednesday a case of what has been called "zombie-deer" disease in Oklahoma.

>> Read more trending news

An elk from a farmed herd in Lincoln County tested positive for chronic wasting disease, which has been called zombie deer disease, according to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry and the  Department of Wildlife Conservation.

The deadly neurological disease affects the brains of elk, deer and other cervid species. There is no vaccine or treatment for the disease, officials say.

The 2-year-old bull elk died from an injury and was tested through routine surveillance in compliance with the facility's Certified Herd Plan.

Officials say there is no known documented health risk to humans or livestock, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned against eating contaminated meat.

Studies have suggested that nonhuman primates, such as monkeys, that eat infected meat or come into contact with an infected animal's body fluid could be at risk. The CDC said the research raises concern there could be a risk to people as well.

Officials say this is the second confirmed case of chronic wasting disease in Oklahoma. The first case happened in a farmed elk herd in Oklahoma County in 1998.

"The Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation are implementing emergency measures to monitor and protect the state's wild and farmed cervid herds and provide information to the public as it becomes available," - the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry said.

About the Author