Chronic Wasting Disease surfaces in PA wild deer population

Written by The Associated Press | Mar 1, 2013 1:49 PM

(Harrisburg) -- Chronic wasting disease has appeared in the state's wild deer population.

The state Game Commission confirms three deer tested positive for the neurological illness that is fatal to deer, elk and moose.

The animals were killed in Blair and Bedford counties during hunting season last fall. They are the first wild deer to test positive since the state began monitoring for the illness in 1998.

Until now, chronic wasting disease had been identified only in captive deer in Pennsylvania. The first case was found on an Adams County farm in October.

The illness can be spread among animals through bodily fluids. There is no evidence it can be transmitted to humans.

The Game Commission plans to hold a news conference Monday.

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Comments: 1

  • Helane Shields img 2013-03-02 13:46

    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a sister disease to mad cow (bovine spongiform encephalopathy-BSE) -- just as Alzheimer's and CJD (Creutzfeldt Jakob) are similar human prion diseases.
    Six million US Alzheimer's victims shed infectious prions to public sewers in their urine and feces. Meat packers and renderers discharge animal prion wastes to public sewers. Prions are found in human and animal mucus, blood, saliva, urine and feces. University of Wisconsin prion expert, Dr. Joel Pedersen, found that the wastewater treatment process does not inactivate prions - it reconcentrates them in the sludge.

    Pennsylvania should reevaluate its enthusiasm for sewer sludge spreading: The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified infectious human and animal prions as emerging pathogenic contaminants of concern in sewage sludge "biosolids".:

    Pennsylvania sewage sludge is spread on cropland and grazing fields shared by deer and livestock.

    The so-called 'species barrier' between deer and livestock and deer and humans, is NOT foolproof:

    USDA/Agricultural Research Service (ARS) found that 86% of livestock
    IC inoculated with CWD prions from infected white-tailed deer went on to
    develop prion disease.

    CDC article on the many hunters and game eaters who have developed prion diseases:

    Dr. Pedersen found prions can become 680 times more infectious when bound to certain soil minerals and survive for years. Human prions are 100,000 times more infectious than animal prions.

    " . . . the species barrier from cervid to humans is prion
    strain-dependent and humans can be vulnerable to novel cervid prion strains"

    "Our results have far-reaching implications for human health, since they indicate that cervid PrPSc can trigger the conversion of human PrPC into PrPSc, suggesting that CWD might be infectious to humans."

    Scientists identify the human strain as "CWD-huPrPSc".

    In the July 3, 2010 issue of VETERINARY RECORD, Dr. Pedersen stated: “Finally, the disposal of sludge was considered to represent the greatest risk of spreading (prion) infectivity to other premises.”

    Helane Shields, Alton, NH

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