A rare "zombie "brain virus that infects deer, moose, and elk has been identified in Yellowstone National Park for the first time ever.
The National Park Service said a deer fitted with a GPS collar died in October and tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease. The rare disease causes physiological and behavioral changes in the animals, leading to starvation and death.
Symptoms include "listlessness, weight loss, increased drinking and urinating, excessive drooling and head lowering."
The disease can spread through direct animal-to-animal contact or through contact with feces, soil, or vegetation. There is no vaccine or known treatment for the fatal disease.
The National Park Service said it is working to limit the spread of the disease by increasing monitoring of other deer, elk, and moose in the park. In addition, they will spend more time investigating the carcasses of deceased animals to check for signs of Chronic Wasting Disease.
Authorities said that anybody who sees an animal acting strange should contact park rangers and avoid contact with the animal. They noted that animals infected with the disease may not be as skittish around humans.
Officials said there is no evidence that Chronic Wasting Disease can be spread to humans, but they advise against eating animals that were infected.