It’s in their droppings, and the infectious prions never go away!
Really, really bad news about chronic wasting disease. Study Spells Out Spread of Brain Illness in Animals. By Sandra Blakeslee. New York Times.
“Dr. Aiken said prions tended to bind to clay in soil and to persist indefinitely. When deer graze on infected dirt, prions that are tightly bound to clay will persist for long periods in their intestinal regions. So there is no chance chronic wasting disease will be eradicated, he said. Outside the laboratory, nothing can inactivate prions bound to soil. They are also impervious to radiation.” [emphasis mine]
Update. Here is the link to the abstract in Nature
New Update: Wyoming boosts CWD survey. This season, more state and federal agents will take samples from hunters’ deer and elk. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.