Oklahoma wildlife officials work to prevent spread of 'zombie deer' disease into state

TULSA, Okla. — The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife is taking steps to keep chronic wasting disease, or "zombie deer" disease, out of Oklahoma.

CWD is a neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose that causes strange behavior, loss of bodily functions and death. There is no known cure.

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State wildlife officials said they’ve been monitoring the disease since it was first discovered in the 1960s. They’ve tested over 10,000 deer across the state for the disease in the past 20 years. So far, there have been no cases found in the wild in Oklahoma, though it’s found in every state that borders it.

Officials say it’s likely to reach Oklahoma eventually, but they are working to minimize its impacts on the state if or when it does get here.

They are asking people to not bring whole deer across state lines to help minimize the risk of it spreading. People can still bring deer meat or taxidermy back to the state, but they are asked to leave other parts in the state where the deer was hunted.

Biologists continue to test wild deer to make sure the disease isn’t in Oklahoma.

Hunters and outdoorsmen are asked to report anything suspicious to the state Wildlife Department or local game warden.

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