Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First ever study to investigate impact of chronic wasting disease on humans

23.11.2005


Researchers at Binghamton University have a first-ever opportunity to determine if Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer can be spread to humans who ingest "infected" meat.



Ralph M. Garruto, professor of biomedical anthropology at Binghamton University, State University of New York, is heading up a study to monitor the health implications of a group of people who are known to have consumed venison infected with CWD. Recently discovered in both wild and captive deer herds in New York, CWD is similar to mad cow disease in that it concentrates in the spinal cord and brain, and is caused by a virtually indestructible mutated protein called a prion.

"We don’t know if CWD can be transmitted to humans," said Garruto. "So this group, some of whom we know for sure ate infected meat, offers us a unique opportunity. I’m hoping the study will allow us to determine if this disease can affect humans in the same way mad cow disease has been shown to cause neurological disease in those who consume infected beef."


The study focuses on a group of people who attended a Sportman’s feast in Verona, NY, earlier this year. It is known that at least some of the attendees, all of whom were offered a variety of entree choices, consumed venison from a deer infected with CWD. Upon hearing of the dinner, Garruto approached the Oneida County Health Department (OCHD) to determine if they would assist in a scientific examination of the people who ate the meat.

"Although not everyone involved is particularly concerned or fearful, it is important for us to protect the health of all county residents,’ said Ken Fanelli, OCHD representative. "Professor Garruto’s study is a proactive response to determining what, if any, will be the long-term health effects, which is one of our most important responsibilities."

Over 50 individuals have already indicated their interest in being part of the study that will involve an initial interview and completion of a questionnaire to help assess risk, including the role played by individuals at the dinner, what they ate, their place of residence, occupation, medical history and other activities. The study will monitor the health of the participants over a period of six years. No invasive testing will be performed and identities will be kept strictly confidential.

"The people who take part in this project can be assured that every measure will be taken to ensure their privacy,’ said Garruto. "Their contribution is vital to the success of this ’first of its kind’ research that may hold world-wide significance in the study of CWD and similar prion diseases."

CWD was first discovered in Colorado in 1967 and has since been documented in several Rocky Mountain and Midwest states. This year, New York State became the first state west of the Mississippi to report CWD in both privately owned and wild deer herds found in parts of Oneida County. Most recently in September, West Virginia reported its first cases of the disease. How the disease is spread from deer-to-deer and how it may impact the environment in which infected animals graze is unclear.

"We’re looking at an issue that could have multiple impacts,’ said Garruto. "Human health and keeping the food supply safe is of primary concern. But we also have to monitor how to keep this epidemic from spreading among deer and across species, from deer to cattle, both of which could have huge economic as well as health implications."

Garruto notes that although a prion disease appears to be transmitted through direct animal-to-animal contact and/or indirect exposure, including contaminated water, soil and brouze by saliva, urine, and feces, it is still unclear as to how it’s transmitted.

"CWD demands a lot more attention than it’s been getting," says Garruto. "Too little research has been done so far to be sure humans can’t contract the disease and we do not know if transmission from deer to cattle who share the same grazing land is possible. This is an important missing link as cow to human cross-species transmission does take place, evidenced by the mad cow and variant Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease epidemics in Europe. This study will give us some solid conclusions and allow us determine how to manage the risks."

Gail Glover | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.binghamton.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>