It's been quietly spreading among the Missouri deer population for decades, but one scientist believes the consequences are much more dire than just affecting wildlife. He believes if you want to see the disease that will eventually kill every single one of us, you need to look at what's happening to Missouri deer right now.

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MSN just shared a story originating from The Atlantic. It's entitled "Deer Are Beta-Testing a Nightmare Disease". It's an interview with Scott Napper, a biochemist and vaccinologist at the University of Saskatchewan. If you look at what's been happening to the Missouri deer population, he says he sees "the disease would eventually find just about every single one of us".

What could be so dangerous that's currently in much of the Missouri deer population?

It's chronic waste disease and it's been killing large numbers of the Missouri deer population. The Missouri Department of Conservation describes it as "a deadly illness in white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family, called cervids." It's a situation the state of Missouri has been watching closely. These are the current survey zones.

Infographic, Missouri Department of Conservation
Infographic, Missouri Department of Conservation

How does chronic waste disease affect humans?

Scott Napper says that chronic waste is a "prion disease". He says that prion diseases are hard to defend against because the body identifies them as benign and not a threat. He says it's like your own body turning on itself. He believes that it's this type of disease that will eventually start spreading among humans and (eventually) get us all. 

The Missouri Department of Conservation added these chilling words:

there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people. However, animal studies suggest CWD poses a risk to some types of non-human primates, like monkeys, that eat meat from CWD-infected animals or come in contact with brain or body fluids from infected deer or elk. These studies raise concerns that there may also be a risk to people.

Will the disease that eventually wipes out the human population really start in Missouri deer? It hasn't happened yet, but there is still much to learn and watch out for.

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Gallery Credit: Canva

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