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Chronic Wasting Disease In Norway???

By Patricia Doyle PhD

Hello Jeff - It appears CWD has jumped across the Atlantic to infect reindeer herd in Norway. That is one hell of a jump.  We are told that reindeer gnaw at the bones of their own deceased species thus explaining away how CWD made it to Norway.

Well, I am not buying into that theory. I hate to tell these scientists that reindeer have been doing this for eons so how come CWD NOW?  The only explanation would be if the bones they found and gnawed were CWD infected carcasses that were being dumped is a type of graveyard for infected animals. Somehow i doubt that we would be dumping CWD infected deer from the US into Norway,

So, once again we are left with another mystery of a pathogen jumping one continent to another. Rather than offer nonsense as to how a pathogen made such a move I prefer to wait until there is more information available.


A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Sat 15 Apr 2017
Source: Animals 24.7 [edited]

Deer, elk, and reindeer commonly gnaw the bones of their own species as a source of calcium, especially in extreme habitats.

It is my understanding that the prions associated with chronic wasting disease, mad cow disease, etc can remain in skull and spinal tissue for many years, capable of being ingested by deer, elk, or reindeer gnawing those bones, who may thereby infect themselves.

Inviting hunters to kill 2000 reindeer in rugged territory accordingly strikes me as practically an invitation to spread any prionic disease they may be carrying, since someone would have to be able to remove 100 per cent of the carcasses to be sure the remaining skulls and spines would never be gnawed.

The non-retrieval rate for US hunters shooting deer in a legal manner runs around 5 per cent, largely because wounded deer often run for some distance before they drop, and sometimes survive for weeks, while their tracks and spoor are covered by snow. It isn't likely that Norwegian hunters do any better, especially in areas with far fewer roads.

A 5 per cent non-retrieval rate would mean 100 potentially infected carcasses left in the habitat. Perhaps only 2-3 of those carcasses will be of reindeer whose skulls and spines contain prions, but any skeleton may be visited and gnawed by dozens of other animals.

communicated by:
Merritt Clifton, editor

Date: Sat 15 Apr 2017
From: Sukie Crandall <>

There are currently at least 2 studies showing infective prions in the bodily waste of crows.

I had these handy:

More recent CWD work:

Prion. 2015 Sep-Oct; 9(5): 367-375.
Published online 2015 Dec 4. doi: 10.1080/ 19336896.2015.1086061
PMCID: PMC4964857
CWD prions remain infectious after passage through the digestive system of coyotes (Canis latrans).
Tracy A Nichols, Justin W Fischer, Terry R Spraker, Qingzhong Kong, Kurt C VerCauteren.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a geographically expanding prion disease of wild and captive cervids in North America. Disease can be transmitted directly, animal to animal, or indirectly via the environment. CWD contamination can occur residually in the environment via soil, water, and forage following deposition of bodily fluids such as urine, saliva, and feces, or by the decomposition of carcasses. Recent work has indicated that plants may even take up prions into the stems and leaves. When a carcass or gut pile is present in the environment, a large number of avian and mammalian species visit and consume the carrion. Additionally, predators like coyotes, likely select for disease-compromised cervids. Natural cross-species CWD transmission has not been documented, however, passage of infectious prion material has been observed in the feces of crows. In this study we evaluated the ability of CWD-infected brain material to pass through the gastrointestinal tract of coyotes (_Canis latrans_) following oral ingestion, and be infectious in a cervidized transgenic mouse model. Results from this study indicate that coyotes can pass infectious prions via their feces for at least 3 days post ingestion, demonstrating that mammalian scavengers could contribute to the translocation and contamination of CWD in the environment.

Other areas that need to be considered:
Identification after passing through avian guts:

There still need to be careful studies and publications on whether larger scavenger birds can pass infective prions, and also on whether poultry fed meal made from infected carcasses may retain infective prions in their digestive systems (and for how long).

On plants as possible vectors of prion disease to vulnerable species (CWD):