A Prion Disease

If we cut through the smoke and mirrors, chronic wasting disease (CWD) is essentially the same as mad cow disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and other deadly prion diseases. To avoid confusion and to keep the conversation simple and accurate, it’s best to describe these collectively as prion disease.

There are thousands, if not millions, of mutations of prions. No two cases of the disease are the same. That’s why it’s best described as a spectrum disease. Some cases strike and kill extremely fast, while others take longer to exhibit clinical symptoms. All cases, however, are fatal. All cases are transmissible.

The scientific name for prion disease is transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is transmissible.

Prion disease strikes most mammals, including deer, elk, moose and reindeer. It’s killed several other species, including mink, cats, sheep, goats, camels and even an elephant. It’s even striking sea mammals.

In wildlife, prion disease is being referred to as chronic wasting disease. Prion disease is definitely a wasting disease and it’s definitely spreading like wildfire.

chronic wasting disease

“It is legitimate to be concerned about the potential for humans being susceptible to CWD,” said noted CWD researcher Dr. Elizabeth Williams. “We don’t have evidence…but we can’t say it could never happen and we have to be prudent.”

Dr. Williams and Stewart Young recognized the brain lesions in deer as those of a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) in 1978. Williams was the preeminent CWD researcher in the world. Unfortunately, Dr. Williams died in a car accident in 2005 when she became more vocal about the risks of CWD to humans. She also knew about some of the early prion research at CSU and the University of Wyoming. She was appointed to a United Nations committee to work on mad cow disease and served on committees for the U.S. National Academy of Science and National Institute of Health. Thanks to her death, concerns about the CWD threat to humans (and the human prion threat to wildlife) lost its voice. Government and industry have played dumb and dumber ever since. Innocent people have been exposed to prions in wildlife unnecessarily.

When prions kill livestock, it’s often referred to as mad cow disease. When prion disease kills people, it’s often called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Neurologists are just guessing based on the symptoms. The only difference is which region of the brain comes under attack first. The same thing is happening in the world of wildlife.

Increasing spread of CWD has raised concerns about the potential for increasing human exposure to the CWD agent. The foodborne transmission of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow disease) to humans indicates that the species barrier does not protect humans from animal prion diseases. There is no significant species barrier against prion disease. A deadly prion is a deadly prion. Again, there are millions of mutations, not just a single CWD prion.

Because of the infectious waste associated with prion disease, humans are spreading prion disease to wildlife and wildlife are spreading prion disease to people now. Prions + Pathways = Victims. Livestock also are part of the equation.

In many ways, CWD is serving as a canary in a coal mine. Sick animals are proof that our environment–our food, water, and air–are so contaminated with neurotoxins that it’s killing mammals of all sizes.

The Prion Predator

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, also known as 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 bodily fluids and cell tissue. Unfortunately, wildlife is exposed to other prion pathways.

prion disease

Sick wildlife is serving as the proverbial canary in a coalmine. Sick deer, elk, moose and reindeer are confirming that the human forms of neurodegenerative disease are transmissible. Norway’s reindeer are the best example.

Other mammals are contracting brain disease from infectious human sewage when it’s dumped where they eat (land application of biosolids) and drink. These prions are making their way back into the human food chain.

Secondly, sick wildlife is proving that there is not a species barrier when it comes to prions—especially the aggressive prions shed from humans.

Sure, deer, elk and moose are getting prions from other vectors, including nose-to-nose contact, but we are injecting prion disease into the herds with the reckless dumping of lethal sewage sludge. My guess is that many of the game farms that are being affected have had sewage sludge (biosolids) dumped on their farms in the past to make additional money. Unfortunately, this paydirt is death dirt. It’s infectious waste and much more. Wild deer are exposed to sewage when dumped on farms, ranches and in forests.

Sick cattle also are falling victim to human prions in sewage that’s being dumped on farms and ranches. Mad cow disease isn’t such a mystery. It’s the bovine form of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. A deadly prion is a deadly prion. The name game is just part of the smoke and mirrors being used to sweep this global prion epidemic under the rug.

Remember, there is no research to contradict or refute any of this prion theory. Prions + Pathways = Victims.

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 disease and Alzheimer's disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Prions (PREE-ons) are a deadly and unstoppable form of protein that migrates, mutates, multiplies and kills with unparalleled efficiency. Prions cause fatal neurodegenerative disease in humans and animals by converting the cellular version of prion protein into a toxic form that erodes the brain and body. Prion disease often is described as a wasting disease that causes a loss of body mass and brain mass.

Dr. Stanley Prusiner, an American neuroscientist from the University of California at San Francisco, earned a Nobel Prize in 1997 for discovering and characterizing prions and prion disease. President Obama awarded Prusiner the National Medal of Science in 2010 to recognize the importance of his research.

Prion disease also is known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.” Prusiner claims that all forms of TSE are caused by infectious prions.

TSE is a spectrum disease that varies in severity and symptoms. It depends on which region of the brain is impacted first and by what prion mutation. Few cases are identical in terms of symptoms and diagnoses. When the presenting symptom is memory loss, the diagnoses flow along the following chart.

prion disease spectrum

In humans, the prion spectrum includes Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and an extremely aggressive version known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The difference between these diseases is very slight and often indistinguishable to neurologists. For example, millions of people have the severe form of Alzheimer’s disease, which is known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). CJD is clearly a prion disease. According to neuroscientists Dr. Laura Manuelidis, at least 25 percent of Alzheimer’s diagnoses are actually CJD, which is further up the prion spectrum. CJD, without dispute, is extremely infectious to caregivers and loved ones, but it has not been declared a reportable disease across the U.S. and many other nations.

Millions of cases of deadly CJD are being misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease. Millions of patients and caregivers are being misinformed, misguided and exposed to an aggressive prion disease. Millions of people with prion disease have exposed us all to their infectious waste thanks to misinformation, mismanagement and negligence.

Meanwhile, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is likely a form of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy—prion disease. In most of these cases, the trauma was the change agent that caused prions to misfold and become toxic. Once the neurodegeneration of CTE begins, are these victims shedding infectious prions? Hopefully, prion researchers will fill in this very important blank. Again, families and caregivers need to know if they are dealing with a TSE.

Unfortunately, Prusiner’s science is being ignored and we all are facing a public health disaster because of the negligence and reckless disregard for public health. Prions are such a formidable threat that the U.S. government enacted the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, which included a provision to halt research on prions in all but two laboratories. It classified prions as select agents that pose an extreme risk to food, water and health systems. Unfortunately, the Center For Disease Control quietly took prions off the list about two years ago because the classification threatened to criminalize some multi-billion dollar industries and many industry practices.

Misinformed caregivers, family members, healthcare workers and others are caught in the crossfire of a deadly form of protein. In fact, few family members are warned about the infectious nature of CJD. Meanwhile, hospitals throw out surgical instruments used on such patients. Neurologists prefer not to touch or even be in the same room as a patient with CJD. The CJD Foundation and other advocacy organizations also remain mum on the risk of transmission. The CDC remains silent. Is this cone of silence at all levels incompetence, negligence or criminal misconduct? Show me the evidence that you rely upon

Abnormal proteins also are associated with autism. In fact, it appears that age is the biggest difference between the neurodegenerative disease spectrum and autism spectrum disorders. Both spectrums share common environmental causes and pathologies. Plus, CJD is taking the lives of more and more young adults and adolescents.

Prion Disease

Prion disease is highly contagious, incurable and fatal. Despite all of the smoke and mirrors, prion disease is prion disease. It’s killing more and more mammals, including humans, every year. The hype about species barriers is ridiculous, reckless and irresponsible.

Victims should be quarantined because prions are in the urine, feces, blood, saliva, mucus, skin and cell tissue of all victims–all human byproducts that are washed, dumped, or flushed down sinks and toilets. One can assume that the waste is extra infectious when it comes from funeral homes, nursing homes, hospitals, dental offices, veterinarians, slaughterhouses and some laboratories.

In humans, most diagnoses are a process of elimination. After eliminating all other possibilities, the medical guesswork begins:

  • If the patient has a memory disorder, it’s diagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease;
  • If they have a movement disorder, it’s diagnosed as Parkinson’s disease;
  • If the patient shows both symptoms, doctors flip a coin;
  • If the patient ever had a concussion, it’s now ruled as CTE;
  • If the person is incapacitated, it’s Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and very transmissible;
  • If the victim is in the deer family, it’s chronic wasting disease instead of prion disease;
  • If the victim is a beef or dairy cow, it’s called mad cow disease instead of prion disease;
  • In other mammals, it’s called different things, but prion disease has been found in dolphins, elephants, mink, cats and many other species. The suggestion of a reliable species barrier against thousands, if not millions of mutations is ludicrous.

Prion disease causes memory loss, impaired coordination, and abnormal movements.

Prion Pathways

There are many sources and pathways for deadly prions. However, we can’t ignore the biggest pathways. The cruel irony of prion disease is that victims become part of the greater problem. Studies confirm that people and animals dying of prion disease contaminate the environment around them. Infectious prions are in the urine, feces, blood, skin, mucus and saliva of each victim. These infectious bodily fluids are contributing to the rapid spread of Alzheimer’s and other mutations of prion disease.

“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 among most mammals, it’s called chronic wasting disease. When cattle contract prion disease, it’s called mad cow disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). It’s just another way of saying transmissible spongiform encephalopathy. Species barriers are a myth.

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.

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.

CWD Norway

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, public lands, forests, parks, golf courses, gardens, ski areas, school grounds and beyond. Wind, rain and irrigation spread these contaminants and many more throughout our watersheds and communities.

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.

Sewage sludge is infectious waste. It’s radioactive waste. It’s carcinogens, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals and more. Putting this deadly soup on crops is criminal. Unfortunately, the criminals at the U.S. EPA say it’s legal—sort of. It’s killing mammals on land and at sea. It’s killing people. It’s contributing to chronic wasting disease.

Alzheimer's disease infectious and CJD infectious

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Gary Chandler is a prion expert. He is the CEO of Crossbow Communications, author of several books and producer of documentaries about health and environmental issues around the world. Chandler is connecting the dots to the global surge in neurodegenerative disease, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic wasting disease and other forms of prion disease. The scientific name for prion disease is transmissible spongiform encephalopathy. The operative word is “transmissible.” Even the global surge in autism appears to be related.


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