TEXAS TAHC confirmed Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a free-ranging elk Dallam County
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 8, 2016
Dallam County Elk Tests Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease
Austin, TX – Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) officials confirmed Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a free-ranging elk, harvested in Dallam County, on December 6, 2016. This is the first known elk in Texas to test positive for CWD.
TAHC and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) discovered the CWD positive elk while conducting enhanced surveillance of cervids at TPWD Panhandle Containment Zone check stations. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa confirmed the presence of CWD prions in the tissue samples taken from the elk. Dallam County is located in the Texas Panhandle and borders Oklahoma and New Mexico.
“We commend all hunters and land owners who are submitting samples in the surveillance zone,” said Dr. Andy Schwartz, TAHC Executive Director. “Surveillance is critical in detecting and preventing the inadvertent spread of CWD.”
Hunters who harvest mule deer or white-tailed deer within the Trans-Pecos and Panhandle CWD Containment and Surveillance Zones are required by TPWD to bring their animals to a TPWD check station within 24 hours of harvest. You can find a check station near you at http://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/diseases/cwd/#checkMap.
CWD has been found in free-ranging elk across the United States, including the neighboring states of New Mexico and Colorado.
CWD was first recognized in 1967 in captive mule deer in Colorado. The first case of CWD in Texas was discovered in 2012 in free-ranging mule deer in an isolated area of far West Texas. The disease has since been detected in a total of 8 mule deer in that West Texas population located in the Hueco Mountains and 1 mule deer in Hartley County. CWD has also been confirmed in white-tailed deer breeding operations located in Medina and Lavaca counties.
CWD is a progressive, fatal disease of cervids that commonly results in altered behavior as a result of microscopic changes made to the brain of affected animals. An animal may carry the disease for years without outward indication, but in the latter stages, signs may include listlessness, lowering of the head, weight loss, repetitive walking in set patterns, and a lack of responsiveness. To date there is no evidence that CWD poses a risk to humans or non-cervids. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend not to consume meat from infected animals.
For more information about CWD please visit
see also postmortem testing ;
Wednesday, December 07, 2016
Student Assistant (Temporary) – Chronic Wasting Disease: Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory
*** WDA 2016 NEW YORK ***
We found that CWD adapts to a new host more readily than BSE and that human PrP was unexpectedly prone to misfolding by CWD prions. In addition, we investigated the role of specific regions of the bovine, deer and human PrP protein in resistance to conversion by prions from another species. We have concluded that the human protein has a region that confers unusual susceptibility to conversion by CWD prions.
Student Presentations Session 2
The species barriers and public health threat of CWD and BSE prions
Ms. Kristen Davenport1, Dr. Davin Henderson1, Dr. Candace Mathiason1, Dr. Edward Hoover1 1Colorado State University
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is spreading rapidly through cervid populations in the USA. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, mad cow disease) arose in the 1980s because cattle were fed recycled animal protein. These and other prion diseases are caused by abnormal folding of the normal prion protein (PrP) into a disease causing form (PrPd), which is pathogenic to nervous system cells and can cause subsequent PrP to misfold. CWD spreads among cervids very efficiently, but it has not yet infected humans. On the other hand, BSE was spread only when cattle consumed infected bovine or ovine tissue, but did infect humans and other species. The objective of this research is to understand the role of PrP structure in cross-species infection by CWD and BSE. To study the propensity of each species’ PrP to be induced to misfold by the presence of PrPd from verious species, we have used an in vitro system that permits detection of PrPd in real-time. We measured the conversion efficiency of various combinations of PrPd seeds and PrP substrate combinations. We observed the cross-species behavior of CWD and BSE, in addition to feline-adapted CWD and BSE. We found that CWD adapts to a new host more readily than BSE and that human PrP was unexpectedly prone to misfolding by CWD prions. In addition, we investigated the role of specific regions of the bovine, deer and human PrP protein in resistance to conversion by prions from another species. We have concluded that the human protein has a region that confers unusual susceptibility to conversion by CWD prions. CWD is unique among prion diseases in its rapid spread in natural populations. BSE prions are essentially unaltered upon passage to a new species, while CWD adapts to the new species. This adaptation has consequences for surveillance of humans exposed to CWD.
Wildlife Disease Risk Communication Research Contributes to Wildlife Trust Administration Exploring perceptions about chronic wasting disease risks among wildlife and agriculture professionals and stakeholders
PRION 2016 TOKYO
Zoonotic Potential of CWD Prions: An Update
Ignazio Cali1, Liuting Qing1, Jue Yuan1, Shenghai Huang2, Diane Kofskey1,3, Nicholas Maurer1, Debbie McKenzie4, Jiri Safar1,3,5, Wenquan Zou1,3,5,6, Pierluigi Gambetti1, Qingzhong Kong1,5,6 1Department of Pathology, 3National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center, 5Department of Neurology, 6National Center for Regenerative Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA. 4Department of Biological Sciences and Center for Prions and Protein Folding Diseases, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 2Encore Health Resources, 1331 Lamar St, Houston, TX 77010
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a widespread and highly transmissible prion disease in free-ranging and captive cervid species in North America. The zoonotic potential of CWD prions is a serious public health concern, but the susceptibility of human CNS and peripheral organs to CWD prions remains largely unresolved. We reported earlier that peripheral and CNS infections were detected in transgenic mice expressing human PrP129M or PrP129V. Here we will present an update on this project, including evidence for strain dependence and influence of cervid PrP polymorphisms on CWD zoonosis as well as the characteristics of experimental human CWD prions.
PRION 2016 TOKYO In Conjunction with Asia Pacific Prion Symposium 2016 PRION 2016 Tokyo Prion 2016
Cervid to human prion transmission
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, United States
Prion disease is transmissible and invariably fatal. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is the prion disease affecting deer, elk and moose, and it is a widespread and expanding epidemic affecting 22 US States and 2 Canadian provinces so far. CWD poses the most serious zoonotic prion transmission risks in North America because of huge venison consumption (>6 million deer/elk hunted and consumed annually in the USA alone), significant prion infectivity in muscles and other tissues/fluids from CWD-affected cervids, and usually high levels of individual exposure to CWD resulting from consumption of the affected animal among often just family and friends. However, we still do not know whether CWD prions can infect humans in the brain or peripheral tissues or whether clinical/asymptomatic CWD zoonosis has already occurred, and we have no essays to reliably detect CWD infection in humans. We hypothesize that:
(1) The classic CWD prion strain can infect humans at low levels in the brain and peripheral lymphoid tissues;
(2) The cervid-to-human transmission barrier is dependent on the cervid prion strain and influenced by the host (human) prion protein (PrP) primary sequence;
(3) Reliable essays can be established to detect CWD infection in humans;and
(4) CWD transmission to humans has already occurred. We will test these hypotheses in 4 Aims using transgenic (Tg) mouse models and complementary in vitro approaches.
Aim 1 will prove that the classical CWD strain may infect humans in brain or peripheral lymphoid tissues at low levels by conducting systemic bioassays in a set of "humanized" Tg mouse lines expressing common human PrP variants using a number of CWD isolates at varying doses and routes. Experimental "human CWD" samples will also be generated for Aim 3.
Aim 2 will test the hypothesis that the cervid-to-human prion transmission barrier is dependent on prion strain and influenced by the host (human) PrP sequence by examining and comparing the transmission efficiency and phenotypes of several atypical/unusual CWD isolates/strains as well as a few prion strains from other species that have adapted to cervid PrP sequence, utilizing the same panel of humanized Tg mouse lines as in Aim 1.
Aim 3 will establish reliable essays for detection and surveillance of CWD infection in humans by examining in details the clinical, pathological, biochemical and in vitro seeding properties of existing and future experimental "human CWD" samples generated from Aims 1-2 and compare them with those of common sporadic human Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) prions.
Aim 4 will attempt to detect clinical CWD-affected human cases by examining a significant number of brain samples from prion-affected human subjects in the USA and Canada who have consumed venison from CWD-endemic areas utilizing the criteria and essays established in Aim 3. The findings from this proposal will greatly advance our understandings on the potential and characteristics of cervid prion transmission in humans, establish reliable essays for CWD zoonosis and potentially discover the first case(s) of CWD infection in humans.
Public Health Relevance There are significant and increasing human exposure to cervid prions because chronic wasting disease (CWD, a widespread and highly infectious prion disease among deer and elk in North America) continues spreading and consumption of venison remains popular, but our understanding on cervid-to-human prion transmission is still very limited, raising public health concerns. This proposal aims to define the zoonotic risks of cervid prions and set up and apply essays to detect CWD zoonosis using mouse models and in vitro methods. The findings will greatly expand our knowledge on the potentials and characteristics of cervid prion transmission in humans, establish reliable essays for such infections and may discover the first case(s) of CWD infection in humans.
Funding Agency Agency National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Type Research Project (R01)
Project # 1R01NS088604-01A1
Application # 9037884
Study Section Cellular and Molecular Biology of Neurodegeneration Study Section (CMND)
Program Officer Wong, May
Project Start 2015-09-30
Project End 2019-07-31
Budget Start 2015-09-30
Budget End 2016-07-31
Support Year 1
Fiscal Year 2015
Total Cost $337,507
Indirect Cost $118,756
Name Case Western Reserve University
Type Schools of Medicine
DUNS # 077758407
Country United States
Zip Code 44106
*** Zoonotic Potential of CWD Prions: An Update Prion 2016 Tokyo ***
why do we not want to do TSE transmission studies on chimpanzees $
5. A positive result from a chimpanzee challenged severly would likely create alarm in some circles even if the result could not be interpreted for man. I have a view that all these agents could be transmitted provided a large enough dose by appropriate routes was given and the animals kept long enough. Until the mechanisms of the species barrier are more clearly understood it might be best to retain that hypothesis.
SCRAPIE WS-01: Prion diseases in animals and zoonotic potential 2016
Prion. 10:S15-S21. 2016 ISSN: 1933-6896 printl 1933-690X online