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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: TRANSMISSION, DIFFERENTIATION, AND PATHOBIOLOGY OF TRANSMISSIBLE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHIES Title: Surveillance for Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy in Scavengers of White-Tailed Deer Carcasses in the Chronic Wasting Disease Area of Wisconsin

Authors
item Jennelle, Christopher -
item Samuel, Michael -
item Nolden, Cherrie -
item Keane, Delwyn -
item Barr, Daniel -
item Johnson, Chad -
item Vanderloo, Joshua -
item Aiken, Judd -
item Hamir, Amirali
item Hoover, Edward -

Submitted to: Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 2009
Publication Date: January 1, 2009
Citation: Jennelle, C.S., Samuel, M.D., Nolden, C.A., Keane, D.P., Barr, D.J., Johnson, C., Vanderloo, J.P., Aiken, J.M., Hamir, A.N., Hoover, E.A. 2009. Surveillance for Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy in Scavengers of White-Tailed Deer Carcasses in the Chronic Wasting Disease Area of Wisconsin. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A. 72(17):1018-1024.

Interpretive Summary: Chronic wasting disease (CWD), a neurologic disease, occurring in cervids, is found in a number of states and provinces across North America. Infected material containing the infectious agents of CWD, are deposited in the environment via carcass remains and excreta, and pose a threat of cross-species transmission. In this study tissues were tested from 812 representative mammalian scavengers, collected in the CWD-infected area of Wisconsin, for TSE infection using commercial and laboratory tests. The commercial test found four samples to be positive; but these samples were negative by the superior laboratory test. Based on these findings, one cannot rule out successful cross-species TSE transmission to scavengers, but the results suggest that such transmission is not frequent in the CWD-affected area of Wisconsin.

Technical Abstract: Chronic wasting disease (CWD), a class of neurodegenerative transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) occurring in cervids, is found in a number of states and provinces across North America. Misfolded prions, the infectious agents of CWD, are deposited in the environment via carcass remains and excreta, and pose a threat of cross-species transmission. In this study tissues were tested from 812 representative mammalian scavengers, collected in the CWD-infected area of Wisconsin, for TSE infection using the IDEXX HersCheck enzyme-linked immuosorbent assay (ELISA). Only four of the collected mammals tested positive using ELISA, but these were negative when tested by Western blot. While our sample sizes permitted high probabilities of detecting TSE assuming 1% population prevalence in several common scavengers (93%, 87%, and 87% for raccoons, opossums, and coyotes, respectively), insufficient sample sizes for other species precluded similar conclusions. One cannot rule out successful cross-species TSE transmission to scavengers, but the results suggest that such transmission is not frequent in the CWD-affected area of Wisconsin. The need for further surveillance of scavenger species, especially those known to be susceptible to TSE (e.g. cat, American mink, raccoon), is highlighted in both a field and laboratory setting.

Last Modified: 8/21/2014
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