chronic wasting disease
chronic wasting disease of deer and elk is enzootic in N. America. Caused by a prion; it results in debilitation and neurodegenerative disease and is a form of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy. Similar to mad cow disease or BSE (q.v.) in cattle, scrapie (q.v.) in sheep, and variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob (vCJD, q.v.) in humans. Invariably fatal, it is characterized by an incubation period measured in years. It remains unknown whether agent can infect humans who ingest meat or wild game, but one such case was reported in Wisconsin in one hunter, two associates of whom had died of neurologic disease.
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