Cause of spread of “mad elk”, “mad deer” disease found

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.

Good news for NW Wyoming elk? Agency finds no further chronic wasting disease in Star Valley

Infected moose may have been an anomaly-

Wyoming’s ungulates herds in NW Wyoming, including Yellowstone Park may have dodged the CWD bullet for now.

Wyoming Game and Fish may still have a short time to do away with wintertime elk feeding. Of course, they won’t.

Story: Good news for elk? Agency finds no further chronic wasting disease in Star Valley. By Chris Merrill. Casper Star Tribune.