Chronic Wasting Disease

Prion Disease Spreading Among Mammals

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is essentially the same as mad cow disease, Alzheimer’s and other deadly prion diseases. The only significant distinction is that CWD kills wildlife, including deer, elk, moose and other mammals. Mad cow disease kills livestock and Alzheimer’s disease kills people.

Prions cause fatal neurodegenerative diseases in humans and animals by converting the cellular prion protein PrPC into aggregation-prone PrPSc. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a prion disease or transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) of free-ranging and farmed cervids. CWD is highly contagious and transmitted through horizontal transmission enabled by the shedding of prions in excreta and their persistence in the environment. The disease is undergoing a dramatic spread across North America, has been found in South Korea, and, recently, has been identified for the first time in Europe in free-ranging reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) and moose in Norway.

Prions and Alzheimer's disease

In order to understand the threat, one must understand the dynamics of this neurological disease. Alzheimer’s disease, for example, is a member of an aggressive family (spectrum) of neurodegenerative diseases known as Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.”

TSEs include Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, mad cow disease and chronic wasting disease in deer. Few, if any, mammals are immune. There is no cure. There is no species barrier. Results from in vitro studies indicated that the species barrier is not absolute.

TSEs are caused by a deadly protein known as a prion (PREE-on). Prion disease is unstoppable and the pathogen spreads through the bodily fluids and cell tissue of its victims. Prions are in the blood, saliva, urine, feces, mucus, and bodily tissue of its victims.

“There is now real evidence of the potential transmissibility of Alzheimer’s,” says Thomas Wiesniewski M.D. a prion and Alzheimer’s researcher at New York University School of Medicine. “In fact, this ability to transmit an abnormal conformation is probably a universal property of amyloid-forming proteins.”

biosolids land application contaminates food water

Wastewater treatment plants are spreading this infectious waste because they are incapable of stopping prions. All by-products and discharges from wastewater treatment plants are infectious waste, which are contributing to the global epidemic of neurodegenerative disease among humans, wildlife and livestock. Sewage sludge (biosolids) and wastewater reclamation are causing widespread contamination. Deer, elk, moose and reindeer are now contracting prion disease from humans. To help cloak the epidemic, it’s called chronic wasting disease. When cattle are exposed to prions, it’s being called mad cow disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, which is just a clever way of saying transmissible spongiform encephalopathy). Species barriers are a myth.

chronic wasting disease

Most states are telling people that the risks from CWD are negligible. Government officials claim that there is no proof that CWD poses a risk to humans. Let’s reverse that perspective–is there any proof that it’s safe to handle an infected animal? Is it possible for a healthy carcass to be cross contaminated at a processing facility that has handled infected carcasses? Are they telling hunters to quarantine clothes, knives, saws and other items that touch blood or tissue from deer and elk, while the head is tested for CWD? Those items can never be sterilized if the deer or elk in question has CWD.

Prions have been found in the muscle tissue of infected mammals. Many wildlife management organizations are saying the opposite. These groups are more concerned with healthy economies than your family’s health.

Therefore, if you trust the advice that you’re getting from hunters’ organizations and game management agencies, you should get your head checked. Chronic wasting disease will kill you. It’s being fueled by many things, including misinformation and mismanagement. For example, dumping sewage sludge throughout our watersheds is a very bad idea.

land application sewage sludge and chronic wasting disease

Although there are many causes and pathways contributing to prion disease, many pathways are being mismanaged around the globe. Not only are homes and hospitals exposed to the prion pathogen, so are entire wastewater treatment systems. Wastewater treatment plants are prion incubators. Sewage sludge and wastewater pumped out spread infectious disease. That’s right. Wildlife are contracting brain disease from the infectious waste of humans (people with prion disease release prions in their urine, feces, blood, mucus and other bodily fluids. So do the sick deer. It’s a vicious cycle that keeps recycling the prions into our food and water).

Sewage treatment plants can’t detect or stop prions. Just ask the U.S. EPA. Dumping sewage sludge (biosolids) from billions of people on land and at sea spreads prions far and wide. It also spreads heavy metals, radioactive waste, carcinogens, pharmaceuticals and more.

biosolids land application sewage sludge

Sewage sludge, biosolids, and reclaimed wastewater are recycling prions from victims into our food and water supplies. We’re dumping killer proteins on crops, ranches, parks, golf courses, gardens, ski areas, school grounds and beyond. Wind, rain and irrigation spread these contaminants and many more throughout our communities and watersheds.

The risk assessments prepared by the U.S. EPA for wastewater treatment and sewage sludge are flawed. Many risks are not addressed, including prions and radioactive waste. They don’t mention prions or radiation because there is no answer. Most nations are making the same mistake. Failure to account for known risks is negligent. Crops for humans and livestock grown grown in sewage sludge absorb prions and become infectious. We’re all vulnerable to Alzheimer’s and other forms of prion disease right now due to widespread denial and mismanagement. It’s time to stop the land application of sewage sludge (LASS) in all nations. Safer alternatives exist.

Prions are a real-world version of Pandora’s Box. Governments and industries that ignore these pathogens are reckless and responsible.

When the U.S. government enacted the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, it classified prions as select agents that pose an extreme risk to food, water and much more. Unfortunately, the CDC quietly took prions off the list about 10 years later because the regulation criminalized entire industries and several reckless practices.

Unfortunately, prions linger in the environment, homes, hospitals, nursing homes, dental offices and beyond infinitely. They migrate, mutate, multiply and kill with unparalleled efficiency. Prions defy all attempts at sterilization and inactivation.

Prions shed from humans are the most deadly. They demand more respect than radiation. They’re being ignored by regulators and industry alike. As such, food and water sources are being contaminated with the deadliest forms of prions. Municipal water systems can’t stop them from reaching your tap. Filtration doesn’t help. It’s like trying to filter out radiation.

public relations firm Alzheimer's disease

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. Please join our coalition to help reform practices that are contributing to the Alzheimer’s disease and chronic wasting disease epidemic.

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