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From: TSS ()
Subject: Board: DOW should move facility Group worried about air, CWD
Date: July 30, 2005 at 6:31 am PST

Fort Collins Coloradoan
Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Board: DOW should move facility
Group worried about air, CWD


A second city advisory board has recommended that the Colorado Division of Wildlife move a research facility that sits near the city's raw water treatment plant.

The air quality advisory board's unanimous vote Tuesday night to send its recommendation to the City Council comes two months after the city's water board did the same after studying the issue for much of the year.

The DOW researches animal diseases, including chronic wasting disease, at the facility, owned by Colorado State University, where infected deer, elk and other animals contaminated with the disease live in outdoor pens.
Chronic wasting disease is an always-fatal brain illness that afflicts deer and elk. The disease is endemic in Northern Colorado.

Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, has never been proved to cross into humans, though some point to mad cow disease, a cousin of CWD, as evidence it could happen. More than 150 people, almost all in Europe, have died from the human form of the disease after eating beef infected with mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

The diseases are caused by prions, tiny folded proteins that kill brain cells and leave behind holes in the brain.

Concerned that airborne prions from the research facility could pose a public-health threat, the board first broached the subject at its June meeting.

The air quality board did not hear from the DOW during either of the two meetings.

Like the water board, air quality advisory board members cited the uncertainty about prion diseases as a concern.

"What people don't know is more than they know about prions," said Eric Levine, chairman of the air quality advisory board.

The research facility, which is about 150 feet northwest of the city's raw water treatment plant at 4316 W. LaPorte Ave., started in the mid-1960s.
Levine argued that the same project would never get approval today, noting the opposition from the city and the county when the DOW proposed putting an animal tissue incinerator at the site in 2002.

"I think there's just so much we don't know about it, it's best to take a precautionary approach," said air quality board member Linda Stanley, whose husband is City Council member Kelly Ohlson. "The more information I got, the more concern I had about the issue."

The board also recommended the DOW upgrade biosafety measures at the site.

The DOW has said it would like to keep doing research at the site. It leases the ground from CSU, which has said it doesn't control what the DOW does at the property.



Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer and Elk: Scientific Facts and Findings

Animal Population Health Institute, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1681, USA

(Received 12 April 2003/Accepted 2 June 2003)

ABSTRACT. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a prion disease of cervids such as deer and elk in North America. Unlike other transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) such as scrapie, CWD occurs in both captive and wild ranging animals, but not in domestic ruminants such as sheep and cattle. In this paper, the history of the disease, pathogenesis of CWD, susceptibility of animals, its transmission mechanisms, potential origins of the disease, diagnostic methods in the field and laboratory tests, surveillance and survey systems in the USA and Canada, control strategies, economic impact of the disease, food and feed safety, and the risks in human and animals are reviewed and summarized. Although there is no evidence that CWD has been transmitted to humans, it may have the potential to infect humans.

J. Vet. Med. Sci. 65(7): 761–768, 2003


Environmental Sources of Prion Transmission in Mule Deer

Michael W. Miller,* Elizabeth S. Williams,† N. Thompson Hobbs,‡ and Lisa L. Wolfe* *Colorado Division of Wildlife, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA; †University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, USA; and ‡Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Suggested citation for this article: Miller MW, Williams ES, Hobbs NT, Wolfe LL. Environmental sources of prion transmission in mule deer. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 2004 Jun [date cited]. Available from:

Whether transmission of the chronic wasting disease (CWD) prion among cervids requires direct interaction with infected animals has been unclear. We report that CWD can be transmitted to susceptible animals indirectly, from environments contaminated by excreta or decomposed carcasses. Under experimental conditions, mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) became infected in two of three paddocks containing naturally infected deer, in two of three paddocks where infected deer carcasses had decomposed in situ ≈1.8 years earlier, and in one of three paddocks where infected deer had last resided 2.2 years earlier. Indirect transmission and environmental persistence of infectious prions will complicate efforts to control CWD and perhaps other animal prion diseases.


Virology. 1998 Nov 25;251(2):297-301.

The host range of chronic wasting disease is altered on passage in ferrets.

Bartz JC, Marsh RF, McKenzie DI, Aiken JM.

Department of Animal Health and Biomedical Sciences, University of Wisconsin, 1655 Linden Drive, Madison, Wisconsin, 53706, USA.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD), a member of the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), was first identified in captive mule and black-tail deer in 1967. Due to the failure to transmit CWD to rodents, we investigated the use of ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) as a small animal model of CWD.
The inoculation of CWD into ferrets resulted in an incubation period of
17-21 months on primary passage that shortened to 5 months by the third ferret passage. The brain tissue of animals inoculated with ferret-passaged CWD exhibited spongiform degeneration and reactive astrocytosis. Western blot analysis of ferret-passaged CWD demonstrated the presence of PrP-res.
Unlike mule deer CWD, ferret-passaged CWD was transmissible to Syrian golden hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus). Increasing the passage number of CWD in ferrets increased the pathogenicity of the agent for hamsters. This increase in host range of a field isolate on interspecies transmission emphasizes the need for caution when assessing the potential risk of transmission of TSEs, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, to new host species. Copyright
1998 Academic Press.

PMID: 9837794 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]



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