'Zombie Deer Disease' has been reported in 22 states

The CDC has reported that the illness known as "Zombie Deer Disease" has been identified in 22 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces.

Though scientifically known as Chronic Wasting Disease, the disease was colloquially dubbed "Zombie Deer Disease" because of the symptoms deer exhibit when they contract the illness, such as vacant stares, drooling and absence of fear of humans, according to the CDC.

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The deadliest infectious diseases in modern history
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The deadliest infectious diseases in modern history

HIV/AIDS: as of 2012, roughly 36 million deaths worldwide since discovery; 1.3 million deaths in 2013 alone

(Photo: HIV-infected T-cells under high magnification, via Getty Images)

Tuberculosis: caused between 1.3 and 1.5 million deaths in 2013

(Photo: Tuberculosis, via Science Photo Library/Getty Images)

Malaria: up to 855,000 deaths in 2013

(Photo: Malarial Parasite inside Red Blood Cell, via Getty Images)

Pneumonia: results in approx. 4 million deaths per year

(Photo: Microphotograph of diplococcus, bacterium responsible for pneumonia, via Getty Images)

Creuztfeldt-Jakob Disease: 100% fatal

(Photo: Creuztfeldt-Jakob Disease, via Getty Images)

Middle East respiratory syndrome: 41% fatal

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Rabies: up to 100% fatal if left untreated

(Photo: Brain of a rabies patient showing negri bodies in the cerebellum, via Getty Images)


While the infection can be easily transmitted from one deer to another by way of bodily fluids like saliva, blood and urine, there is no evidence that people can be harmed by the infected meat, according to Colorado Public Radio.

However, scientists are growing concerned about the potential threat the disease can present to humans.

Last year, researchers at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency published a study that showed the illness could be transmitted to macaques, a species of monkey that is more genetically similar to humans than other mammals tested with the disease.

The results have raised concerns among experts who believe that the disease could potentially pose a risk to humans.

SEE ALSO: Oregon boy, 8, dies from flesh-eating bacteria after falling off bike

Though there have been no reported infections in humans to date, the CDC is cautioning hunters and those who eat deer and elk to refrain from handling or consuming meat from an animal that appears sick, exhibits strange behavior or was found dead.

Click here to view the CDC's prevention guidelines.

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