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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Animal Disease Center » Virus and Prion Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #373622

Research Project: Pathobiology, Genetics, and Detection of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies

Location: Virus and Prion Research

Title: Successful transmission of the chronic wasting disease (CWD) agent to white-tailed deer by intravenous blood transfusion

Author
item MAMMADOVA, NAJIBA - Orise Fellow
item CASSMAN, ERIC - Orise Fellow
item Greenlee, Justin

Submitted to: Research in Veterinary Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/14/2020
Publication Date: 12/20/2020
Citation: Mammadova, N., Cassman, E., Greenlee, J.J. 2020. Successful transmission of the chronic wasting disease (CWD) agent to white-tailed deer by intravenous blood transfusion. Research in Veterinary Science. 133:304-306. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2020.10.009.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2020.10.009

Interpretive Summary: Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal disease of cervids that causes damaging changes in the brain. The infectious agent is an abnormal protein called a prion that has misfolded from its normal state. Chronic wasting disease may be transmitted from ingestion of prions shed in bodily fluids (e.g. feces, urine, saliva, placenta tissue) of infected animals. Few studies have also reported detection of infectious prions in blood. To determine if CWD-infected blood can transmit prion disease, recipient deer were inoculated intravenously (IV) with blood derived from a CWD-infected white-tailed deer. We found that two out of three animals developed disease. This study complements and supports an earlier finding that CWD can be transmitted to deer by intravenous blood transfusion from white-tailed deer with CWD. This information is useful to wildlife and agricultural officials that are involved in efforts to control the spread of chronic wasting disease.

Technical Abstract: Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSEs) that affects free-ranging and captive cervid species. The infectious agent of CWD may be transmitted from ingestion of prions shed in bodily fluids (e.g. feces, urine, saliva, placenta tissue) of infected animals, contaminated pastures, and/or decomposing carcasses from dead animals. Studies have also demonstrated prion infectivity in whole blood or blood fractions of CWD infected animals. To determine if CWD-infected blood contained sufficient levels of prion infectivity to cause disease, recipient deer were inoculated intravenously (IV) with blood derived from a CWD-infected white-tailed deer. We found that the CWD agent can be successfully transmitted to white-tailed deer by a single intravenous blood transfusion with a mean incubation period of approximately 35 months and an attack rate of 100%. This study complements and supports an earlier finding that CWD can be transmitted to deer by intravenous blood transfusion from white-tailed deer with CWD.