Prion Conference – New Findings on CWD

Prion Conference – New Findings on CWD

A FEW FINDINGS: To our knowledge, this is the first established experimental model of CWD in TgSB3985. We found evidence for co-existence or divergence of two CWD strains adapted to Tga20 mice and their replication in TgSB3985 mice. Finally, we observed phenotypic differences between cervid-derived CWD and CWD/Tg20 strains upon propagation in TgSB3985 mice. Further studies are underway to characterize these strains. We conclude that TSE infectivity is likely to survive burial for long time periods with minimal loss of infectivity and limited movement from the original burial site. However PMCA results have shown that there is the potential for rainwater to elute TSE related material from soil which could lead to the contamination of a wider area. These experiments reinforce the importance of risk assessment when disposing of TSE risk materials. The results show that even highly diluted PrPSc can bind efficiently to polypropylene, stainless steel, glass, wood and stone and propagate the conversion of normal prion protein. For in vivo experiments, hamsters were ic injected with implants incubated in 1% 263K-infected brain homogenate. Hamsters, inoculated with 263K-contaminated implants of all groups, developed typical signs of prion disease, whereas control animals inoculated with non-contaminated materials did not. Our data establish that meadow voles are permissive to CWD via peripheral exposure route, suggesting they could serve as an environmental reservoir for CWD. Additionally, our data are consistent with the hypothesis that at least two strains of CWD circulate in naturally-infected cervid populations and provide evidence that meadow voles are a useful tool for CWD strain typing. Conclusion. CWD prions are shed in saliva and urine of infected deer as...
CWD – The Conservation Fight of Our Lives

CWD – The Conservation Fight of Our Lives

“That’s the disturbing part. We don’t seem to learn. We Chickens have come home to roost. Again. We behave as if actions don’t have consequences, even though the whole coming home to roost thing, is a long-accepted warning against reckless behaviour. So here we are, constructing a call to arms for what will almost certainly be the conservation fight of our lives…against an ominous, self-inflicted threat.” ~ Alberta Outdoorsmen   Before diving in, note that it’s not so much the proverbial chickens we’re worried about, as it is their little passengers, like H1N1, a virus with an informative history. H1N1 is the strain of influenza that, so far this season, has infected several thousand Canadians, hospitalized hundreds, and killed at least sixty—mostly strong, healthy adults. It used to be centuries, or generations between such outbreaks, but it’s a mere handful of years since the 2009 H1N1 epidemic that killed 428 Canadians, along with almost 300,000 people world-wide. These, however, pale in comparison to this virus’ maiden attack. The great flu epidemic of 1918 killed more people in twenty-five weeks than AIDS has in twenty-five years! H1N1 first emerged on chicken farms, jumped to people, went from us to pigs, then back to people. Or, it may have gone from chickens directly to pigs, and then to us… that jury’s still out. Either way, intensive conditions allowed it to evolve, become transferable, highly contagious, and quite lethal. This highlights two fundamental facts: 1) Most of our infectious diseases and epidemics come from animals. 2) The role of domestication is profound – we have basically created most of the infectious diseases...
A Growing Threat

A Growing Threat

HOW DEER BREEDING COULD PUT PUBLIC TRUST WILDLIFE AT RISK By James E. Miller Professor Emeritus, Mississippi State University A recent news story in Iowa’s The Gazette began: “Iowa’s first seven cases of chronic wasting disease—all directly related to confined white-tailed deer—have put a bull’s eye on the backs of the state’s deer breeders and the pay-to-shoot facilities they supply” (The Gazette 2012). Less than one month later, Pennsylvania confirmed its first case of CWD, which was traced to a deer farm in Adams County (The Sentinel 2012). And in Indiana, an October 19 news report noted concerns about the spread of CWD after 20 deer escaped from a farm that was breeding trophy bucks for fenced-in private hunting preserves (Indystar.com 2012). That article quoted Indiana’s DNR spokesman as saying the case “underscores the concern many have about how the commercialization of wildlife and interstate trafficking in wildlife presents a Pandora’s Box, with the potential spread of a deadly disease that does have some wide-ranging consequences.” Wide-ranging consequences indeed. The spread of chronic wasting disease from captive deer populations is only one of many potential problems related to the commercialization of Public Trust Wildlife (PTW) resources. Under the guise of promoting “economic development,” thousands of for-profit deer-breeding and canned-shooting operations have proliferated across the nation. Their proponents are aggressively promoting legislation to expand the industry—a trend that has snowballed since 2007. All wildlife professionals who care about wildlife resources should take note—and take action. Such legislation has the potential to shift authority for PTW resources, specifically captive white-tailed deer, away from state fish and wildlife agencies to departments of...
We’re Losing This Game

We’re Losing This Game

Farming deer and elk spreads diseases that could devastate wild populations and threaten humans, say wildlife experts… By Darrel Rowledge, Valerius Geist and Jim Fulton Originally in the Globe and Mail For more than two years, Alberta game farmers have mounted an intensive lobby to legalize one of their primary markets—penned shooting operations. The Alberta government had largely refused comment, despite its long promotion of the industry. That ended this month when Premier Ralph Klein said: “I find it abhorrent . . . I just find it inhumane to have elk or wild animals penned and then people being allowed to shoot them.” Premier Klein’s revulsion at the concept of “Bambi in a barrel” may have been news, but it misses the real issue, the potentially devastating effect of game farms on wildlife. Similarly, Korea’s ban on velvet antler imports because of CWD (chronic wasting disease) on North American game farms was grim news to the industry. Velvet, sold as an aphrodisiac and traditional remedy, is game farming’s other main product. CWD was later confirmed in elk imported into Korea from Saskatchewan, reinforcing the legitimacy of their concern. CWD is a sister disease to mad-cow disease, and this family of TSEs (transmissible spongiform encephalopathies) are chronic, untestable, untreatable and always fatal. Chronic wasting disease has now been confirmed on game farms across North America. The costs of the epidemic are into the hundreds of millions and climbing. More important, the disease has not been contained and is spreading to wildlife. In fact, our wildlife is facing its greatest crisis in decades. Any hope of solving it means focusing on...
Governance And Germ Guardians

Governance And Germ Guardians

(Excerpt from Rowledge, Darrel – No Accident, Public Policy and Chronic Wasting Disease in Canada) “Better to build a fence at the top of the cliff than have an ambulance at the bottom.” (Origin uncertain, Malins 1895) In all of recorded history, few factors rival the influence of infectious diseases. Massive epidemics have so ruthlessly, so indiscriminately, and so dramatically laid waste entire populations that questions about their nature, causes, spread, and, especially, questions of appropriate response, have beguiled leaders for millennia. 10, 11, 12 Such was the irony of an invisible force of unfathomable power! Utterly incomprehensible for all but the last blink of history, diseases seemed to comport as well to superstition or faith as to reason: Unseeable microscopic pathogens…? Acts or anger of the gods…? One was surely as fantastic as the other. Today, in our increasingly globalized community — with now more than a century of proof of “germ theory,” and countless hard-learned lessons about invasive organisms — there is no more important responsibility in all of government than that of defining responsible public policy to deal with infectious diseases, parasites, pests, or contaminants. A single unintended instance can cause massive, irreversible harm… killing thousands or even millions of people or other animals, and inflicting enormous costs—on people, communities, economies, and ecosystems. Even relatively tiny instances such as the recent SARS epidemic, which sprang from Asian game farms to kill 800 people in 2002—2003, cost $136 billion.13 Of the 432 cases in Canada, 44 people died.14 Given that stark reality, the wisdom of the “precautionary principle” is irrefutable. Such “look before you leap,” “better safe...