Thursday, December 6, 2018

Prions and Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer

A prion is an abnormally folded protein that is transmissible between animals and between species.

Prions are the causal agent in Mad Cow disease, Scrapies (in sheep), Chronic Wasting disease in deer and elk and a form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.

Source  Michigan is running about 1.5 diagnosed cases of CJ disease per million per year.

Prions are incredibly durable, presumably due to their simple structure. Mad Cow disease in Britain became an issue because the normal cooking procedures for recycling slaughtered animal wastes back into animal food did not kill the prions that were in the central nervous system.

States reporting Chronic Wasting Disease
Mad Cow disease had a devastating effect on the British cattle industry as the EU refused to accept exports from Britain.  Departments of Natural Resources are trying to get their arms around Chronic Wasting disease before it is documented as Mad Cow disease in the US cattle herd.

Loss of the ability to export beef and dairy products would have a devastating effect on the already teetering farm economy.


  1. It is spreading, and we're now seeing meat recalls... sigh

  2. ERJ,
    Just for grins, do some reading on Spiroplasmas as potential cause of TSEs.
    I've never been able to buy into the prion can a misconfigured structural protein cause its 'normal' counterpart to misconfigure...?


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