Prion that causes mad-cow-like disease found in deer meat
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Prion that causes mad-cow-like disease found in deer meat

Fri Jan 27, 11:33 AM ET 

PARIS (AFP) - Scientists have found that North American deer with an infection similar to mad-cow disease carry the rogue prion protein in their muscles, a finding that serves a warning to hunters and deer farmers in parts of Canada and the United States.

In contrast, the mice injected with tissues from healthy deer remained unaffected.

"Skeletal muscle as well as CNS [central nervous system] tissue of deer with CWD contains infectious prions," say the authors.

They worry that hunters and farmers in CWD-hit areas, and those who eat or handle infected meat, could be at risk.

The study only addresses the case of infected animals.

It does not address some big questions, such as how many prions hole up in deer muscle and the extent of the prion's spread among deer that have not fallen sick.

Also unknown is whether CWD can infect other animal species; whether it can can be passed on to humans who eat venison; and how it is transmitted among deer themselves.

A 2003 study on CWD, published in the British journal Nature, suggested that the protein could be handed on through feces that are deposited on grazing land, or perhaps through saliva.

[Ed. Note:  We believe that another possible source of this disease is from deer eating spilled farmed animal feed that contains the ground up remains of other animals, which would make this another human caused disease from the exploitation of animals.]

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