There’s a very infectious disease that’s known as “zombie” deer disease, which is a national threat because it can also affect humans.
Apparently, hunters can get a form of tuberculosis from the deer, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency has talked about the case. It seems that a 2017 case from Michigan – a 77-year-old man was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis – might have been caused by mycobacterium bovis. The man said he had no exposure to any person with tuberculosis, and he did not even drink unpasteurized milk. However, he did hunt deers for 20 years, as per the CDC. He also had field-dressed them – that means removing the organs after he killed them.
In order to prevent exposure, the CDC officials recommended hunters to wear protective gear while they remove the organs of the animals. Is the head of a deer is tested for tuberculosis, and the tests come back positive, then the hunter should get a checkup.
Is this a hidden threat?
Bovine tuberculosis can be found in deers, elks, bison, and cattle. The 77-year-old man lived in the northeastern Lower Peninsula of Michigan. We are talking about a region that doesn’t really have diagnoses of tuberculosis in people. But the deers test positive.
The CDC report also talked about how the man inhaled the bacteria which eventually turned into tuberculosis, while he was removing the organs from a deer. We don’t know for sure when it happened, but somehow, the infection got reactivated back in 2017.
There were so many cases of the same type of tuberculosis found in humans in Michigan. One took place back in 2004 when a hunter hurt his finger while he filed-dressed a deer. Another one happened back in 2002 when a hunter inhaled the bacteria while removing the organs of a carcass.