Monday, February 09, 2004

Oh, Dear

The thing that catches my eye is that we don't know how this thing is spread, how infectious this is, so on. This really reminds me of AIDS in the early early days before it was even called AIDS.

Couple of points: Oh. So mad deer roam. You mean, they don't go "down" like cows?
    Following the uproar triggered by the discovery of the first known case of mad cow disease in the United States, researchers and regulators are focusing new attention on a similar disease afflicting hundreds or thousands of "mad" deer and elk that roam freely across large parts of North America.
Then this: how is it being spread? The "without direct contact" possibility scares me. No mention of water supply but it crosses my mind.
    But unlike mad cow disease, which is known to spread only when cattle consume feed containing tissue from infected animals, chronic wasting spreads more easily from animal to animal, probably through saliva, urine, hair or feces. Some animals have apparently gotten the disease without any direct contact with others.

No evidence yet of it crossing species naturally but why is this being brought up?
    But researchers have found they can transmit chronic wasting disease to cattle and to mice by injecting infected tissue into their brains. They are also concerned that carnivores such as wolves and mountain lions could get infected if they eat diseased wild deer and elk -- especially the brains and central nervous system tissues.
Lots of other questions come to mind, foremost being what is the relationship of chronic wasting disease to BSE and CJD? The more light shed on this subject, the more this looks like a ticking timebomb.