Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Research Supports Theory that Indirect Transmission of Chronic Wasting Disease Possible in Mule Deer

12.05.2004

A team of researchers has reported that chronic wasting disease (CWD) can be transmitted through environments contaminated by whole carcasses or excrement of animals infected with the pathogen that causes CWD.

The research confirms long-held theories that CWD can be indirectly spread through environmental sources, in addition to direct interactions between infected and healthy mule deer.

Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health, the study results were published on-line last week in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. The authors are Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) veterinarians Michael Miller and Lisa Wolfe, Colorado State University (CSU) scientist Thomas Hobbs and University of Wyoming scientist Elizabeth Williams.

"Diseases like CWD are poorly understood and of rising concern," said Sam Scheiner, program director in NSF’s division of environmental biology, which funded the research. "This study provides significant new information showing the potential for transfer of the infection through the environment after many months. The knowledge will substantially alter how we manage the disease in wild and domestic animals."

Based on anecdotal observations, "we have long suspected that CWD could be transmitted when healthy deer were exposed to excreta and carcasses of mule deer that had the disease," said Miller. "Our findings show that environmental sources of infection may contribute to CWD epidemics, and illustrate how potentially complex these epidemics may be in natural populations."

Added Williams, "We’ve had a great deal of circumstantial evidence suggesting that indirect transmission occurs. The experimental findings show that we need to consider several potential exposure routes when attempting to control this disease."

Hobbs said the research could be important in helping to slow the spread of CWD.

"Ultimately, we want to develop models that predict the behavior of the disease," Hobbs explained. "For example, we would like to predict how prevalence changes over time in different areas of Colorado."

Hobbs said previous disease models have been based on animal-to animal contact as the sole source of infection and that disease prevalence was expected to decline as the number of infected animals is reduced.

"Our findings that contaminated environments can cause transmission means that these declines in infection rates may be much slower than would be predicted by models that only consider animal-to-animal transmission."

Miller said that while the research shows environmental contamination is possible in a captive setting, the impacts in the wild are still unknown.

The research confined healthy deer in three sets of separate paddocks. In the first set, healthy deer were exposed to another deer already infected with CWD; in the second set, deer were exposed to carcasses of deer that had died of CWD; in the third set, deer were confined in paddocks where infected deer had previously been kept.

A few of the healthy deer contracted CWD under all three exposure scenarios over the course of one year.

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological ailment of elk, white-tailed deer and mule deer. Most researchers believe the disease is caused by an aberrant prion protein that misfolds in the brain, destroying brain tissues as it progresses. Clinical signs include lethargy, excessive salivation, loss of wariness of predators and slowly deteriorating body condition. The disease is always fatal and there is no known cure or treatment to prevent CWD.

Federal and state health officials have found no connection between CWD and human health. As a precaution, officials recommend that the meat of animals infected with CWD should not be eaten.

"Although live deer and elk still seem the most likely way for CWD to spread geographically, our data show that environmental sources could contribute to maintaining and prolonging local epidemics, even when all infected animals are eliminated," Miller said. He said the appropriateness of various culling strategies may depend on how quickly the CWD agent is added to or lost from the environment.

Cheryl Dybas | NSF
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drought hits rivers first and more strongly than agriculture
06.09.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

nachricht Landslides triggered by human activity on the rise
23.08.2018 | European Geosciences Union

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: Goodbye, silicon? On the way to new electronic materials with metal-organic networks

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz (Germany) together with scientists from Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Madrid (Spain) have now developed and characterized a novel, metal-organic material which displays electrical properties mimicking those of highly crystalline silicon. The material which can easily be fabricated at room temperature could serve as a replacement for expensive conventional inorganic materials used in optoelectronics.

Silicon, a so called semiconductor, is currently widely employed for the development of components such as solar cells, LEDs or computer chips. High purity...

Im Focus: Storage & Transport of highly volatile Gases made safer & cheaper by the use of “Kinetic Trapping"

Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles

Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...

Im Focus: Disrupting crystalline order to restore superfluidity

When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.

We are all familiar with such control of the freezing transition, as it is an essential ingredient in the art of making a sorbet or a slushy. To make a cold...

Im Focus: Micro energy harvesters for the Internet of Things

Fraunhofer IWS Dresden scientists print electronic layers with polymer ink

Thin organic layers provide machines and equipment with new functions. They enable, for example, tiny energy recuperators. In future, these will be installed...

Im Focus: Dynamik einzelner Proteine

Neue Messmethode erlaubt es Forschenden, die Bewegung von Molekülen lange und genau zu verfolgen

Das Zusammenspiel aus Struktur und Dynamik bestimmt die Funktion von Proteinen, den molekularen Werkzeugen der Zelle. Durch Fortschritte in der...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Conference to pave the way for new therapies

17.10.2018 | Event News

Berlin5GWeek: Private industrial networks and temporary 5G connectivity islands

16.10.2018 | Event News

5th International Conference on Cellular Materials (CellMAT), Scientific Programme online

02.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nanocages in the lab and in the computer: how DNA-based dendrimers transport nanoparticles

19.10.2018 | Life Sciences

Thin films from Braunschweig on the way to Mercury

19.10.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

App-App-Hooray! - Innovative Kits for AR Applications

19.10.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>