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Prions in Skeletal Muscles of Deer with Chronic Wasting Disease

Science  24 Feb 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5764, pp. 1117
DOI: 10.1126/science.1122864

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Abstract

The emergence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer and elk in an increasingly wide geographic area, as well as the interspecies transmission of bovine spongiform encephalopathy to humans in the form of variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease, have raised concerns about the zoonotic potential of CWD. Because meat consumption is the most likely means of exposure, it is important to determine whether skeletal muscle of diseased cervids contains prion infectivity. Here bioassays in transgenic mice expressing cervid prion protein revealed the presence of infectious prions in skeletal muscles of CWD-infected deer, demonstrating that humans consuming or handling meat from CWD-infected deer are at risk to prion exposure.

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