Photo: Colorado Division of Wildlife

Chronic Wasting Disease

Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies

Scientific papers (updated June 18, 2007)


Historical documents




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Researchers move closer to detection of CWD in body fluids

June 6, 2007  NEW

Here we report use of both non-denaturing amplification and protein-misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) to amplify PrPCWD in vitro.  Highly efficient in vitro amplification of PrPCWD is a significant step toward detection of PrPCWD in body fluids or excreta of CWD-susceptible species.  (more)

Review panel rubber stamps US research lab's TSE wastewater disposal practices (Ames, Iowa)

November 21, 2006   

NADC research projects utilize several of the TSE agents (prions) for development of diagnostic tests as well as transmission and pathogenesis studies. In many of the experiments the agents are transmitted to a wide number of species and may be found in an array of tissues including blood as well as secretions and excretions. Waste water is generated at several sites. The waste from the Necropsy Building consists of water, urine, feces, secretions, excretions, blood and small amounts of tissue. Although efforts are made to collect as much central nervous system tissue as possible, if some of it goes down the drain, it may contribute the greatest level of infectivity to the waste water.  (more)

Scrapie agent persists in environment for at least 16 years

December 2006  

In 1978, a rigorous programme was implemented to stop the spread of, and subsequently eradicate, sheep scrapie in Iceland. Affected flocks were culled, premises were disinfected and, after 2–3 years, restocked with lambs from scrapie-free areas. Between 1978 and 2004, scrapie recurred on 33 farms.  (more)

Photo: Todd Heisler, Rocky Mountain News

Wisconsin Dept of Health creates registry to track hunters who have consumed CWD-infected deer

159 potentially at-risk hunters identified since 2003

November 2006

In 2002, as a precautionary measure, DHFS convened a workgroup of 13 experts, primarily neurologists and neuropathologists, to determine how to monitor any possible connection between CWD and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. To investigate reported cases, DHFS collects information from
medical records, autopsy results, and details from family members
about the person’s background, including hunting history and
whether the person ate venison. In 2004, DHFS established a registry of individuals in Wisconsin who have consumed CWD-positive deer, which is updated after each hunting season. DNR staff who inform hunters of positive CWD test results ask whether the hunter or anyone else has consumed venison from the animal. DHFS plans to use the registry as another method for determining whether any cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob or any related disease can be traced to CWD exposure.  (more)

Photo: Dr. Terry Kreeger, Wyoming Fish & Game Department

About this site


The purpose of this site is to provide news, information, and commentary on chronic wasting disease and its potential impact on human health.  A special emphasis will be placed on the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and the Foothills Wildlife Research Facility in Fort Collins, Colorado.  The FWRF is where CWD was first observed in captive mule deer in the late 1960s. 

I welcome all questions, comments, criticisms, corrections, suggestions, and submissions.  Send me an email.


Jim Woodward

Wellington, Colorado, USA

Site updated June 18, 2007




FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Material from diverse and sometimes temporary sources is being made available in a permanent unified manner as part of an effort to advance understanding of the potential human health issues associated with Chronic Wasting Disease and other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. It is believed that this is a 'fair use' of the information as allowed under section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 USC Section 107, the site is maintained without profit for those who access it for research and educational purposes. To use material reproduced on this site for purposes that go beyond 'fair use', permission is required from the copyright owner.





Chronic wasting disease found in venison

Infectious agent found in muscle tissue

January 16, 2006

A new study has found that deer infected with chronic wasting disease have infectious agents present in their muscle tissue - a discovery that reverses long-held thinking and reinforces calls for hunters to test their kill and avoid eating infected deer. (more)

CWD transmitted by saliva and blood

"No tissue from CWD-infected cervids can be considered free of prion infectivity"

October 5, 2006 

Deer can spread Chronic Wasting Disease through saliva and blood, which means no part of an infected animal is positively safe to eat, Colorado researchers report in today’s edition of Science.  

The study by Colorado State University scientists is the first to prove that saliva and blood are pathways for the fatal neurological disease.  While there is no proof that humans can get CWD from eating the flesh of an infected deer, such cross-species transfers have been seen in a related prion-type disease — Mad Cow Disease.  Dr. Ed Hoover, the principal scientist for the study, suggests that hunters pay strict attention to Colorado Wildlife Commission rules: Don’t eat any part of a deer until its brain and lymph nodes have been tested for the presence of the abnormal prions that signal CWD.  (more)

Pathological prion protein found in skin of infected animals

May 25, 2007  NEW

To further pinpoint the peripheral tissues that could serve as reservoirs of prions in the mammalian body and from which these pathogens could be potentially disseminated into the environment and transmitted to other individuals, we examined the skin of hamsters perorally challenged with scrapie and of naturally infected scrapie sheep for the presence of PrPSc. We show that PrPSc can accumulate in the skin at late stages of incubation, and that the protein is located primarily in small nerve fibres within this organ. The question of whether the skin may also provide a reservoir for prions in CWD, BSE, or vCJD, and the role of the skin in relation to the natural transmission of scrapie in the field needs further investigation (more)



Prions found in heart muscle of cervids; Study marks first time infectivity found in striated

muscle by immunological testing - November 2006 


Technology developed for highly sensitive detection of TSEs - November 17, 2006 


More CWD-infected moose found in Colorado; Diseased moose now found in three Game Management Units - November 9, 2006


Skull cap and brain tissue from Colorado elk seized in Oregon - November 7, 2006


Study funded by CDC and Colo. Div. of Wildlife finds no increase in reported CJD cases in NE Colo.; Authors acknowledge limitations in assessing risk to humans from chronic wasting disease - October 2006 


Wisconsin DNR admits failure of $27 mil program to eradicate or contain CWD; Agency cites need to protect hunting industry; helicopters, sharpshooters may be used to kill deer - October 26, 2006


CDOW urges CWD testing in southeast Colorado;

Agency raffles rifle but fails to mention recent scientific findings of disease agent in muscle, saliva, and blood - October 18, 2006   


More than 100 domestic elk escape near Yellowstone; Owner refused to test animals for CWD - September 7, 2006  


USDA delays CWD herd certification and interstate movement rule - September 8, 2006  


Urine transmits prion disease - September 2006 


CWD experimentally transmitted to Suffolk sheep; Both clinical and subclinical disease found - August 31, 2006


Colorado Wildlife Commission gives DOW Director authority to impose mandatory CWD testing of hunter-killed animals; Infectivity in muscle tissue cited in internal memo - July 13, 2006  


Scientists detect prions in blood of presymptomatic animals - July 7, 2006 


CDOW advises hunters on field dressing precautions but fails to mention findings of CWD agent in muscle - July 1, 2006 


CDOW: CWD "widely distributed in Colorado" - July 1, 2006 


UK Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee updates CWD research review - June 2006 


Wyoming Game & Fish to keep elk feedgrounds open - May 5, 2006


Colorado Division of Wildlife suspends underground discharge of waste fluids from CWD research lab; EPA tests find high levels of hazardous chemical - April 28, 2006


CWD infectivity preserved in soil; Agent remains in environment to infect other species - April 13, 2006  


Colorado Division of Wildlife stops killing healthy deer for CWD management; Miller's computer model flawed - March 27, 2006  


79% infection rate found in depopulated Wisconsin game farm; Property to undergo "cleaning and disinfection" - March 6, 2006


Utah hunter dies of CJD - February 10, 2006


Researchers test compounds that inhibit prion protein accumulation in cell cultures infected with CWD - January 2006


CWD detected in new areas of Colorado - December 29, 2005


CWD transmitted to non-human primates - November 2005


Findings shed light on deer to deer transmission of CWD - October 4, 2005


CWD jumps species barrier to moose - September 29, 2005


Montana researchers find small prion particles more infectious than larger ones - September 8, 2005


Mule deer found near Laramie, Wyoming with plague, CWD, and blindness - September 2005


Federal agents kill nearly 300 elk on southern Colorado ranch - September 2005


CWD rate higher in vehicle-killed deer - July 2005