The disease affects the central nervous system and animals may show signs of drastic weight loss, lack of coordination and apathy. This can make them more aggressive and less frightened by human contact, explains the center.
It is part of the same family of diseases as Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, which the CDC describes as "a rapidly evolving and always fatal neurodegenerative disorder".
According to the center, scientists believe that the contagious disease is transmitted between animals via body fluids.
He advised people not to handle or eat stag and elk meat that looks sick or has been found dead. It states that latex or rubber gloves should be worn when handling meat and that contact should be minimized, especially when handling organs such as the brain or spinal cord.
In deer and other cervids, the disease has an incubation period of more than a year, with some animals showing no symptoms for years after being infected, the CDC says. But the disease is always fatal.
Cases of the disease have also been reported in Canada, Norway and Finland.