“Zombie deer” disease now found in 17 Illinois counties

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GALENA, Ill. (KWQC) – Animals with a sickness known as "zombie deer" disease are now being reported in 17 Illinois counties, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

The counties include Boone, Carroll, Dekalb, DuPage, Grundy, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Livingston, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Will and Winnebago.

The CDC reports the illness, properly known as chronic wasting disease (CWD), has been found in deer, elk and moose in Illinois and 23 other states.

Animals with CWD have a zombie-like stare and lose so much weight their rib cages are clearly visible.

The disease is believed to spread via bodily fluids either by direct contact or through contaminated soil, food or water.

CWD can be highly contagious within deer and elk populations and can spread quickly.

Hunters are advised to have all game tested before they consume any animals they kill.