It’s an illness that some say is causing a serious threat to the Louisiana deer population. The concern has already led to a feeding ban enacted from January through June of this year, in northeast Louisiana. The ban was in order to minimize the risk of Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, spreading into the state.

Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy, or TSE, is most known for one of it's other names, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or Mad Cow Disease. It's referred to as BSE when it presents in cattle and sheep, and called Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and elk.

The disease is also transmittable to humans, where it is known as Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

TSE is still a relativity new disease, meaning there's not successful cure or treatment. The disease still carries the term "hypothesis" around what the disease actually does. The prevailing theory is that TSE causes prion proteins in the brain to slow until the stop, then they become toxic, and begin eating away at the brain tissue. Causing the brain to lose tissue in small hole, causing scans of the brain to appear to be sponge-like.

Now, Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham is backing legislation for more in depth studies of the CWD form of the disease. Abraham says there is a financial benefit for the state in ensuring a healthy deer population.

Additionally, with the unknowns that surround TSE related diseases, any research, or slowing of the spread, can be beneficial. But not just beneficial to deer, cattle, and sheep...but to humans as well.

As the science community continues to learn about the disease, they're learning more about how it's transmitted. Including the potentials of cross-species contamination. It's suggested that there are thousands of people living with TSE precursors in the United Kingdom, based on eating tainted beef products over the last three decades.