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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic; Now tracking the Aussie Flu.

How Dangerous is CWD?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FluMom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 30 2018 at 8:18pm
Hey my father's doctor told him, "Mike we are all going to die from something. Quit worrying!" LOL, so true! I just avoid elk, deer, moose just to be sure I do not go with CWD.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CRS, DrPH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 30 2018 at 8:34pm
Originally posted by FluMom FluMom wrote:

Hey my father's doctor told him, "Mike we are all going to die from something. Quit worrying!" LOL, so true! I just avoid elk, deer, moose just to be sure I do not go with CWD.

LOL, I agree!  Moderation is the key....harvesting a few deer/elk during the year, eating them through out the year doesn't seem like it would entail high risks, particularly since hunters tend to prize the muscle of the animal vs. nervous tissue (very high risk eating!).  

Deer have other things I don't like, like TB.  However, our midwestern grain-fed deer can be pretty good eating, and the only moose I ever had (Alaskan) was yummy!! 

Gotta die of something, FluMom!! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 31 2018 at 2:43am
Most people (at least those who are reasonably heathy) are at no real risk of TB.  Historically speaking, it was a disease of the poor and for good reason.  Malnutrition made people suceptable.  Of the rare richer person who surcumbed, about 1/3 recovered through "fresh air and sunshine" (vitamin D makers). 

Bovine TB (mycoplasma bovis/brucellosis) is probably easier to contract, because of our taste for milk - but pasteurisation sorts that,  and it is both less life-threatening and easily avoidable by cookng - even rare cooking - anything over 70*C.  If, like me, you are clumsy butchers who tend to nick yourself, adoppt good wound hygene practices.  If you still manage to get it, be a good boy or girl and follow the doctors antibiotic regimen to the letter.  I was exposed as a child on my grandfathers dairy farm, where unpasteurised milk was the norm.  All tests came back clear.  The doc commented that most people were naturally resistant and I must have been one of the lucky ones.  Back then, I don't think the medical profession realised that the main factor in resistance was vitamin D,  they just knew some got it and some did not.

Anyway, CWD is far more worrying, even though it has not jumped biological family yet.  Flu virus dies outside the body, as does mycoplasma, most infectious agents need a vector or direct contact to get us. We have antibiotics, antifungals, antiparasitics and antivirals - albeit the last are not so effective as the rest.

It appears the tiny prion can use almost anything as a vector, persists on soil, in plants and through even extreme coking.  There are no treatments.  Only the restriction of deer movements and human transporters can stop its spread.  That is scary.
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Aparently, CWD is more contagious in areas where the soil is acidic and, even more importantly, less contagious in high-clay soils.

You can read the whole article here:   https://phys.org/news/2018-02-soil-characteristics-chronic-disease-persistence.html

Sumarised it says:  The prions stick to clay and so are harder to injest, whereas ph over 6.6 loosens them.  The study was an observational/statistical one; where the map of cases was stuck over one of the soils.
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US health authorities are warning that 'zombie deer disease' is spreading — and some fear it could start infecting humans

State officials in Minnesota say they are having a hard time fighting the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD).


Source and full article:   http://www.businessinsider.com/chronic-wasting-disease-zombie-deer-warnings-minnesota-mississippi-2018-2?IR=T

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Chronic wasting disease growing among deer and elk in Pa.

Feb 19, 2018

A disease that is a threat to deer and elk is gaining a bigger foothold in Pennsylvania.

Chronic wasting disease is a transmissible neurological disorder of deer and elk characterized by loss of body condition, behavioral abnormalities and always the death of the animal. Neither bacterial nor viral, it is the result of an oddly folded protein, or prion, causing a form of spongiform encephalopathy that carves sponge-like holes in the brains of its victims, similar to mad cow disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep.

Originating in Colorado in 1969, CWD is now confirmed in 24 states including Pennsylvania, where it seems to have recently crossed a transmission threshold, doubling the number of cases from 2016 to 2017. It is not contagious to pets, but recent research suggests that despite longtime scientific consensus, it may be transferable to humans who eat the malformed protein.

CWD map

CWD is a disease of cervids — hooved animals in the deer family — which are considered “keystone species” because they eat the habitat that every other animal needs for food and shelter. Researchers have said the rapid elimination of a keystone species in CWD hotspots would have dire consequences for all plants and animals and the people who enjoy them.

Chronic wasting disease was the subject of a well-attended seminar Sunday at the Allegheny Outdoors, Sport and Travel Show in Monroeville. Wayne Laroche, special assistant for CWD response for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said the state’s fourth Disease Management Area will soon be established following a new case discovered on a commercial deer farm in Lancaster County last week.

“This is a setback here in Pennsylvania and it’s now in half of the states,” Mr. Laroche said. “Hunters know about this because they know what’s going on with deer, but for the most part the general public is just starting to hear about it now.”

The prions are believed to have spread through the commercial exchange of deer among deer farms from Texas to Saskatchewan Province in Canada. Researchers including Mr. Laroche say spotty distribution in wild deer from the Rocky Mountains to south-central Pennsylvania suggests the prions are crossing deer farm fences and entering wild populations.

The misfolded proteins are resistant to an enzyme that breaks down proteins and peptides. The resistance is transferred when a prion touches a healthy protein.


Source and National map of current spread:   http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/outdoors/2018/02/19/Deer-chronic-wasting-disease/stories/201802190054

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Don't think you are safe because you ate that deer a decade ago...........................................

PRION DISEASE CAN LURK IN YOUR BRAIN FOR 30 YEARS BEFORE QUICKLY KILLING YOU

Among the myriad of things that can sicken us, prions remain one of the creepiest pathogens out there. A new report, published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, highlights yet another reason why: People can come down with a prion disease at least 30 years after first being exposed to it.

Prions are the misshapen form of proteins readily found in our brain. When prions are next to their normal counterparts, they very slowly, but relentlessly, convert them into more prions, like a microscopic Agent Smith from the Matrix. Little by little, the growing army eats away at the brain, causing telltale spongy holes. It can take years, even decades for a prion disease to become noticeable, but once symptoms like dementia or muscle spasms appear, it’s universally fatal, typically within a few months to two years.

Japanese researchers dug through records and identified 22 patients within the country who had developed a specific form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a neurodegenerative disease caused by prions, since 2008. These patients had caught CJD from contaminated dura mater grafts (dura mater being a tough membrane that coats the brain and spinal cord) used to help their brains heal after surgery. One patient in particular had their graft implanted in 1985 and only developed CJD 30 years later, in 2015.

The newer cases bring the tally of dura mater graft-associated CJD (dCJD) cases documented in Japan since 1975 up to a total of 154, the authors reported. That represents more than 60 percent of dCJD cases seen worldwide (four have been seen in the US).

These prion diseases, or spongiform encephalopathies as they’re formally called, can be transmitted by close contact with infected bodily fluid or brain matter; can be caused by mutations that run in the family; or can even appear out of nowhere with seemingly no underlying cause. Genetics might also play a role in how vulnerable we are to contracting a transmitted prion disease.

It’s estimated that about one in a million people annually develop some form of CJD, by far the most common human prion disease.

Cases of dCJD have centered around Japan because the brand of dura mater graft primarily responsible for the initial outbreak—Lyodura—was most widely available and used there. Unbeknownst to anyone at the time, the grafts (as well as some stocks of human growth hormone) were created using deceased donors who had CJD. And the standard method of decontamination, gamma radiation, did absolutely nothing to kill prions. By 1987, soon after the first cases of dCJD were discovered, Lyodura changed their sterilization methods, while other graft companies steered away from using dead human donors.

Unfortunately, some patients were given older Lyodura grafts that remained in stock after 1987. The grafts had a five-year-old expiration date, but in at least one case, a patient was given a graft found to be expired. The three most recent cases seemingly occurred during surgeries performed in 1993, all involving Lyodura grafts.

It’s almost inevitable that a few more new dCJD victims will sprout up in the years to come, the authors believe. From 1983 to 1987, they noted, 20,000 people in Japan received a Lyodura graft, a number fiftyfold higher than in the US.

Lead author Ryusuke Ae, a public health researcher at Jichi Medical University, told Gizmodo via email that graft patients in Japan may have been exposed to tainted Lyodura products after 1993 as well.

“Although the US government prohibited using Lyodura as soon as the risk was reported in 1986, the Japanese government did not until 1996,” he explained.

The maximum length of time it can take for CJD and other prion diseases to appear is also still up in the air. Ae says that the 30-year-latency period his team documented is the longest of any confirmed case of transmissible prion disease. But there’s speculative evidence of even longer examples.

The now virtually extinct Kuru disease, seen among members of the South Fore tribe in Papua, New Guinea, was spread by a cannibalistic religious custom of eating the brains of the recently dead. But though the ritual was phased out by the 1960s, cases of Kuru are thought to have shown up over 50 years after it was first contracted. Research in animals has also suggested that cases of variant CJD, spread by eating meat contaminated with the prions that cause Mad Cow disease, might vary widely in their incubation periods, possibly due to the victim’s genetic make-up.

Some people with acquired CJD might even, perhaps fortunately, never know they had it, Ae says.

“It is possible that there are some undeveloped patients of acquired CJD because of long latency periods, and they may die without CJD onset,” Ae said. “So far, the latency periods are only known by God.”

Because of that uncertainty, in addition to maintaining and establishing methods to prevent transmissible CJD, Ae and his team say, it’s important to create a more extensive surveillance system that can find still-hidden reservoirs of prion disease.


Source:  https://gizmodo.com/prion-disease-can-lurk-in-your-brain-for-30-years-befor-1823628617

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Chronic Wasting Disease: Coming to a Deer Population Near You

Without more federal dollars, the fatal disease will spread unabated
By Andy McGlashen | Mar 11 2018

In 1967, at a research facility in Fort Collins, Colorado, scientists began to notice strange symptoms in a herd of captive mule deer. The deer guzzled water, ground their teeth, and drooled. They stopped eating and stared at nothing. Eventually—ribs protruding, heads drooping—they died.

By the time researchers formally described the condition and named it chronic wasting disease, or CWD, in a 1980 paper, it had spread to other facilities in Colorado and Wyoming. Since then, the disease has turned up in captive and free-ranging deer, elk, and moose in 25 states—Mississippi reported its first CWD-positive deer in February—and Canada, Norway, and South Korea.

No one knows when or how CWD arose. It belongs to a family of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies or TSEs, along with mad cow disease, the sheep disease scrapie, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a very rare illness in humans. They are caused by prions, a type of protein that can become misshapen and cause other proteins to deform, eventually carving tiny holes in the brain. Like other TSEs, CWD is always fatal.

Unlike those diseases, however, CWD is not contained to domestic herds—it is the first known prion disease loose on the landscape, and wildlife managers are scrambling to stop it. Eradicating the disease seems unlikely. Stopping its spread may be the best we can hope for, experts say, and unless it’s backed by major new funding from Washington, hoping won’t get us far.

“Right now, we do not have effective management tools for this disease,” said Bryan Richards, emerging disease coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center. “From a management standpoint, its characteristics form a terrific challenge for wildlife managers. There’s nothing easy about it.”

There are no documented cases of humans contracting CWD, but experts say they can’t rule out the possibility. Indeed, scientists believe exposure to beef infected with mad cow disease is the cause of a Creutzfeldt-Jakob variant that has infected at least 231 people worldwide since it was first recorded in 1996. Concerns grew last May when Stefanie Czub, a prion expert with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, presented worrisome findings from her lab: As part of an ongoing study, three macaque monkeys that were fed CWD-tainted venison contracted the disease, demonstrating that it can cross the species barrier to primates. “The take-home message here is I think very much reiterating what the World Health Organization says: Nobody should consume any tissue, organ or material from a prion-infected animal,” Czub said.

It’s difficult to say how many people eat venison, but 9.2 million Americans hunt deer, elk, and other big game. Montana hunters alone harvest more than 9 million pounds of deer, elk, and antelope a year. Hunting is economically important in many areas, and is a key tool for managing North American deer herds. If concerns about CWD erode participation, hunters and non-hunters alike may see lost revenue, more crop damage, and more frequent car-deer collisions, natural resource managers warn.   

Shed in the waste of infected animals, prions can linger in soil for years. Research suggests plants can take up the prions and infect grazing deer. Females pass it to their offspring. Scavengers scatter prions across the landscape after visiting infected carcasses. CWD also travels when hunters transport contaminated parts, or animals are shipped from captive facilities where they’re raised for venison or as stock for private hunting preserves.

In some areas the disease has become so well established that, “if you’re a deer hunter and you go kill a big buck, you can take a coin out of your pocket and flip it up in the air, and those are literally the chances of that animal having CWD,” Richards said. In those hotspots, the disease is a threat not only to individual deer, but to entire local populations. In a 2016 University of Wyoming study of whitetail deer in the eastern part of that state, researchers found a 10 percent annual population decline from CWD, enough to wipe out some herds in less than 50 years.

To control the disease, 32 states have implemented bans or restrictions on importing captive animals from areas with CWD, and 42 ban or restrict hunters from bringing in animal parts from other states, according to the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance, a partnership of conservation groups. States also track the disease in wild herds by encouraging or requiring hunters to bring deer and elk to checkpoints for testing, and occasionally by sending in sharpshooters to kill deer in areas with CWD.

Those state surveillance efforts are expensive—Wisconsin spent more than 32 million to manage CWD from 2001 to 2006—but federal support for them has withered even as the disease has spread across the country. In the mid-2000s, Congress gave the USDA more than $18 million a year to help states control the spread of CWD, with the money split between surveillance of captive and wild herds. But beginning in 2012, the wildlife dollars were eliminated, leaving states to pay for hunter check stations, lab fees, and other costs. Today that funding is down to $3 million a year for a USDA certification program for captive herds, which requires five years of CWD-free test results before a farm can move animals across state lines. Even so, some certified herds have later tested positive for the disease.

“We need a large amount of money to look at new management techniques,” said Matt Dunfee, director of special programs for the Wildlife Management Institute and head of the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance. “Because research has been gutted nationally for this, it’s really hard to develop new tools.”

More money could be on the way soon. In November, U.S. Representatives Ron Kind(D) and James Sensenbrenner(R), both of Wisconsin, introduced a bill that would provide $35 million for CWD research and management; Montana Democrat Jon Tester introduced a companion Senate bill in December. “Honestly, it’s nowhere near enough,” Dunfee said of the proposed funding, “but it’s a darn good start.”

Along with helping states and tribes pay for surveillance, the bills could fund rapid-response efforts when CWD is first detected in an area—a strategy that appears to have kept New York state’s deer CWD-free after the disease was discovered there in 2005. The proposed funding could also support CWD research at a moment when some scientists say they’re on the cusp of developing transformative tools to fight the disease.

For example, Claudio Soto, a neurologist at the McGovern Medical School in Houston, says he has developed a blood test for the disease. Today’s CWD surveillance involves sampling brain and spinal tissue of dead animals; a reliable test for live deer could help farm and wildlife managers detect and respond to outbreaks more nimbly. But the USDA hasn’t approved the technique, and Dunfee said he’s skeptical. “Until now, no blood test has been developed that picks up prions reliably enough and at concentrations that are meaningful for management,” he said. “People have been trying to find that for a long time, and remember we’ve been working on other TSEs longer than CWD.”

Scientists also report progress toward preventing deer from catching CWD. In a 2014 paper, a New York University-led team announced what they said is the first successful vaccine for a prion disease. Five whitetail deer were given several doses of a vaccine made of Salmonella bacteria and a prion-like protein, then exposed to CWD. Four of them took longer than average to show signs of the disease, and the fifth never developed it during the study period.

“We are extremely close to slowing down the disease, that we know for sure,” said Fernando Goni, the NYU neurologist who led the study. Goni said his team has refined the vaccine so that it requires fewer doses and could be applied to deer food to inoculate wild herds, but he acknowledged that, given CWD’s vast and expanding range, doing so would be tremendously expensive.

Wildlife experts are also skeptical about a CWD vaccine. “Fifteen years ago, it seemed like there was an announcement every six months of someone saying, ‘This is it, we’ve got the vaccine candidate,’” Richards said. “And without exception, that was kind of the last you heard about it.” One potential vaccine developed by a Canadian company showed promise in early lab studies. But in a Wyoming field study, Richards pointed out, elk that were given the vaccine were nearly seven times more likely to develop CWD. And while a vaccine would be useful for protecting captive animals, using it in the wild would be a monumental undertaking, according to Dunfee. “Logistically, ask any wildlife biologist who’s tried to vaccinate wild herds and you’ll find it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible,” he said.   

Dunfee and others agree that more CWD research is important—perhaps it will yield a breakthrough to wipe out the disease. Meanwhile, politicians and the public need to recognize the seriousness of the disease, he said, and invest in containing it. “Prevention, prevention, prevention—that is the way we halt this disease,” he said. “If you can stop infected animals from moving to new areas, you can win this.”

Source:   https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/chronic-wasting-disease-coming-deer-population-near-you


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 11 2018 at 2:22pm
MMmm is this a way of Nature hitting back at all them city dwellers who go out hunting for SPORT.........

i just have to laugh,

no good came of killing anything for no reason!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and SPORT is no reason at all......................
12 Monkeys...............
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Yep!  If you don't intend to eat it - shoot it with a camera. 

If you do intend to eat it - shoot it in the head, don't torture it.
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Province 'negligent' in containing cervid disease, says MLA

Last Updated: April 2, 2018 6:00 AM MDT

The spread of a fatal neurological illness affecting elk, moose and deer in eastern Alberta is reminiscent of the onset of Canada’s mad cow disease crisis, says an Alberta legislator. 

Liberal MLA David Swann warned that chronic wasting disease (CWD) — a prion disease in the same family as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), scrapies and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), which affect cattle, sheep and humans respectively — needs to be contained before irreparably harming the environment, agriculture industry and human health.

“This provincial government is negligent,” he was recorded as saying in Hansard last month.

He called on the NDP to implement more stringent policies to restrict the movement of animals in an effort to quell the spread of the disease. He also advocated for a summit where leaders from Ottawa and affected provinces can discuss a national strategy.

“That would ultimately move us towards a stronger evidence base about getting serious about controlling this disease,” he said in an interview. 

In 2003, a single BSE-infected cow traced back to northern Alberta spurred a worldwide ban on Canadian beef exports and cost up to $10 billion. 

“We learned nothing from the BSE crisis,” Swann said in Hansard. “Conventional wisdom at the time assured us that this could not be transmitted to humans. This proved wrong, and variant CJD cost over 200 human lives.”

‘Relatively new’

In 2002, a lone elk on a game farm became Alberta’s first CWD case. Since then, four other farms have had animals test positive. In 2005, Alberta reported its first cases of wild cervids along the Saskatchewan border.

The disease — which has also been reported in more than two dozen U.S. states, Norway and South Korea — has no treatment or vaccine. 

“It’s a relatively new disease on the landscape,” said Margo Pybus, provincial wildlife disease specialist, last Monday. “It is slowly increasing within local populations on the east side of the province.”

Researchers haven’t ruled out the possibility that the disease can infect humans or cattle — a University of Calgary study found CWD could infect macaque monkeys who ate tainted meat — but agree it’s extremely unlikely. 

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier said he’s confident in Alberta’s tracking system, which costs $700,000 annually and includes mandatory testing for hunted deer meat in certain areas. 

“I do think (Swann is) wrong comparing this to BSE,” Carlier said Thursday. “With the traceability we’re doing now … we’re in a really good place to stay ahead of it to ensure we have the measures in place to protect the herds and protect the markets.”

Carlier noted he is “somewhat concerned” by the less strict control measures set out by other jurisdictions. 

Saskatchewan disbanded its mandatory wildlife testing program in 2012. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency recently changed its monitoring program of farmed cervids and launched a voluntary herd certification program. The agency said the move followed unsuccessful attempts to contain the disease.

“At first glance there are concerns with the CFIA backing away with some of their control measures,” Carlier said. “At the moment what I think what we’re doing … is strong enough.”

Caribou concerns

Alberta’s threatened woodland caribou could also be at risk, said University of Alberta researcher Debbie McKenzie, who is among a group of scientists funded by the Alberta Prion Research Institute.

“That’s one thing that we’re very concerned about,” she said, adding at least four CWD strains have been confirmed. 

The disease is transmitted through direct contact among animals, as well as by saliva, fecal matter and urine. Cross-species infection with other animals including bison, bighorn sheep and mountain goats could also happen, she said. “It’s very infectious to animals.”

The disease’s spread could also force deer populations into decline, which has happened in Colorado and Wyoming. They were home to the first reported CWD cases in the late 1970s.

“Then that is going to have a lot of ramifications on the environment,” she said.

Expanding surveillance program

Last year Alberta tested more than 6,000 deer heads for the disease, and the plan is to boost that number to 10,000 annually, said Matt Dykstra, spokesman for the minister of environment and parks. 

“Our objective is to be able to limit the rate at which the disease spreads. This is not an easy task,” he said in a statement Thursday. 

Program experts spent the last week of March in the U.S. to present on two decades of research to counterparts in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada, he added.

“Many other jurisdictions are looking at our data because we have a continuous picture about how this disease moves across the landscape,” he said. 

The surveillance program depends on hunters turning in their deer heads, McKenzie said. 

“If people are in areas where we know there is CWD, they should get their animals tested and not eat them if they’re positive.”

Source and map:   http://edmontonjournal.com/news/politics/province-negligent-in-containing-cervid-disease-says-mla


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