Speaking at the Minnesota State Capitol last week, experts from the University of Minnesota told lawmakers of the dangers of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), or what the U.S. Geological Survey describes as a “ fatal, neurological illness occurring in North American cervids (members of the deer family), including white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose.”

Currently, there are no vaccines or treatments available for the disease, which scientists say spreads directly through animal-to-animal contact but also indirectly through contaminated drinking water or food.

While there have been no reported cases of CWD in people, Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told lawmakers that the disease should be treated as a public health issue, claiming human cases of CWD will likely be “documented in the years ahead.”