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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Animal Disease Center » Virus and Prion Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #317903

Title: Transmission of chronic wasting disease to sentinel reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus)

item MOORE, S - Orise Fellow
item Kunkle, Robert
item Nicholson, Eric
item Richt, Juergen
item Hamir, Amirali
item Waters, Wade
item Greenlee, Justin

Submitted to: American College of Veterinary Pathologists Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/12/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a naturally-occurring, fatal neurodegenerative disease of North American cervids. Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) are susceptible to CWD following oral challenge, but CWD has not been reported in free-ranging caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) or farmed reindeer. Potential contact between CWD-affected cervids and Rangifer species that are free-ranging or co-housed on farms presents a potential risk of CWD transmission. The aims of this study were to 1) investigate the transmission of CWD from white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus; CWD-wtd), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus; CWD-md), or elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni; CWD-elk) to reindeer via the intracranial route, and 2) to assess for direct and indirect horizontal transmission to non-inoculated sentinels. Three groups of 5 reindeer fawns were challenged intracranially with CWD-wtd, CWD-md, or CWD-elk. Two years after challenge of inoculated reindeer, non-inoculated control reindeer were introduced into the same pen as the CWD-wtd inoculated reindeer (n=4) or into a pen adjacent to the CWD-md inoculated reindeer (n=2). Reindeer were allowed to develop clinical disease. At death/euthanasia a complete necropsy examination was performed, including immunohistochemical testing of tissues for disease-associated CWD prion protein (PrP-CWD). Intracranially challenged reindeer developed clinical disease from 21 months post-inoculation (MPI). PrP-CWD was detected in 5/6 sentinel reindeer although only 2/6 developed clinical disease during the study period (<57 MPI). We have shown that reindeer are susceptible to CWD from various cervid sources and can transmit CWD to naive reindeer both directly and indirectly.