ORIGINAL: Ben Sobieck
Scientists have discovered that deer asymptomatic for a fatal brain condition known as chronic wasting disease excrete the infectious prions that cause the disease in their feces. The finding, they say, suggests a plausible explanation for transmission of the disease among deer and, possibly, elk and moose in the environment.
The study is reported as an advance online paper on September 9, 2009 in the journal "Nature."
While the study reveals that prions are shed in feces of symptomatic deer as well, the discovery that the infected deer shed prions (PREE-ons) in their feces many months before they show clinical symptoms has particularly provocative implications, according to the research team, at University of California, San Francisco and the Colorado Division of Wildlife's Wildlife Research Center.
SIGNS YOUR DEER MAY HAVE CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE
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