Disease possible from consuming deer
- NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Findings from an animal study suggest that
disease-cause prions can be spread via infected skeletal muscle from deer
with chronic wasting disease (CWD) -- a wildlife illness related to mad cow
Whether CWD can be passed to humans is still unclear, but the present
findings suggest that if this does occur, simply handling the meat of
infected dear could pose a risk, senior author Dr. Glenn C. Telling, from
the University of Kentucky in Lexington, and colleagues warn in the journal
The researchers injected muscle or brain extracts from CWD-affected mule
deer into the brains of mice.
As expected, the brain extracts were much more efficient at causing disease
in the mice. Still, all of the muscle extracts caused progressive neurologic
dysfunction too, albeit with longer incubation times.
These results show that muscle, "which is likely to be consumed by humans,
is a significant source of prion infectivity," the authors write. "Humans
consuming or handling meat from CWD-infected deer are therefore at risk to
SOURCE: Science January 26, 2006.
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