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From: TSS ()
Subject: Levels of Abnormal Prion Protein in Deer and Elk with Chronic Wasting Disease
Date: June 4, 2007 at 7:33 am PST

Volume 13, Number 6–June 2007
Levels of Abnormal Prion Protein in Deer and Elk with Chronic Wasting Disease
Brent L. Race,* Kimberly D. Meade-White,* Anne Ward,* Jean Jewell,† Michael W. Miller,‡ Elizabeth S. Williams,†1 Bruce Chesebro,* and Richard E. Race*
*Rocky Mountain Laboratories, Hamilton, Montana, USA; †University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, USA; and ‡Colorado Division of Wildlife, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Suggested citation for this article

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) of deer and elk is a widespread health concern because its potential for cross-species transmission is undetermined. CWD prevalence in wild elk is much lower than its prevalence in wild deer, and whether CWD-infected deer and elk differ in ability to infect other species is unknown. Because lymphoid tissues are important in the pathogenesis of some transmissible spongiform encephalopathies such as sheep scrapie, we investigated whether CWD-affected elk and deer differ in distribution or quantity of disease-associated prion protein (PrPres) in lymphoid tissues. Immunoblot quantification of PrPres from tonsil and retropharyngeal lymph nodes showed much higher levels of PrPres in deer than in elk. This difference correlated with the natural prevalence of CWD in these species and suggested that CWD-infected deer may be more likely than elk to transmit the disease to other cervids and have a greater potential to transmit CWD to noncervids.


Earlier studies have not shown any evidence for transmission of CWD to humans (33–35). CWD has been transmitted to cattle by intracerebral but not by oral inoculation (36), and no reports have found that co-pasturing of CWD-infected deer or elk with cattle has resulted in transmission. Furthermore, in vitro assays designed to test the susceptibility of humans or cattle to CWD suggested a very low probability of transmission to humans (37). Sheep, however, are likely to be more susceptible to CWD. They have been infected by intracerebral inoculation (38), and at a molecular level, CWD PrPres was shown to convert sheep PrP to the disease-associated form with relatively high efficiency (37). Thus, among livestock, sheep might be a possible target for CWD infection in appropriate situations such as co-pasturing. Also, a CWD agent from putatively infected sheep could have a host range not usually associated with CWD and might cross species barriers more readily than CWD from cervids. Thus, if CWD continues to expand in deer and elk populations, the possibility of transmission to noncervid species will require continued surveillance.

Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 2007 4:10 PM
Subject: Re: Colorado Surveillance Program for Chronic Wasting Disease
Transmission to Humans (TWO SUSPECT CASES)


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