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Thread: FDA Launches Study of Fatal Elk, Deer Disease/Scientists Look at Wasting Disease

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    Senior Member Max's Avatar
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    FDA Launches Study of Fatal Elk, Deer Disease/Scientists Look at Wasting Disease

    FDA Launches Study of Fatal Elk, Deer Disease
    2 hours, 48 minutes ago

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The US Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) (FDA) will fund two studies to investigate whether chronic wasting disease (CWD), now spreading through the nation's deer and elk herds, poses any risk to human health, Health and Human Services (news - web sites) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said Monday.



    CWD, like "mad cow" disease in cattle, belongs to a family of illnesses known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). While there is no evidence that CWD poses a risk to humans, dozens of people--almost all of them in the UK--have contracted a fatal TSE called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (news - web sites), apparently after eating meat from cattle infected with mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (news - web sites).


    The two new studies will seek to evaluate the risk to human health of eating CWD-contaminated meat or being in close contact with infected animals.


    "We must determine whether CWD is a threat to our food supply and how best to stop the spread of this disease in our deer and elk herds," Thompson said in a prepared statement. "We will aggressively pursue innovative methods to expand research and direct assistance to states to fight the spread of CWD."


    Colorado State University recently won an $8.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (news - web sites) to establish a center focusing on CWD. The center will investigate how deer and elk become infected with CWD and whether the illness can spread to other species. Scientists there will also work on a vaccine for the disease.


    Researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease's Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana, will study whether monkeys that eat meat contaminated with CWD prions, the abnormal proteins implicated in all TSEs, will develop CWD. Such primate studies are important in determining whether meat from a CWD-infected animal poses a risk to humans. Researchers at the labs have already begun investigating possible treatments for CWD.


    The National Institutes of Health plans to spend roughly $24.3 million to study TSEs in fiscal 2002, and has asked for an 8.7% increase in TSE research funding for the following fiscal year, according to the HHS statement.

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    "Those who seek to predict the future... might first look to the past. The past is a mirror -- and those who ignore its sometimes dark reflection, are doomed to repeat it... Will it be those seeking redemption who shall decide the future... or will those driven only by greed and envy shape our destiny? Even a hundred years later, the outcome is still very much in doubt. .." Outer Limits(Heart's Desire)

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    Senior Member Max's Avatar
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    Scientists Look at Wasting Disease

    Scientists Look at Wasting Disease
    Sun Nov 3,10:13 PM ET

    MILWAUKEE (AP) - Scientists will soon inject brain tissue from deer infected with chronic wasting disease into the brains of healthy cattle to see whether the cows develop a similar disease.



    Scientists in Ames, Iowa, will begin later this month to try to determine whether the fatal disease can cross from one species to another, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Sunday.


    Chronic wasting disease is related to mad cow disease and damages brain and nerve tissue. The disease has been detected in at least 10 Midwest and Rocky Mountain states and parts of Canada. In Wisconsin, 40 infected deer have been found.


    Janice Miller, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (news - web sites) veterinarian in charge of the experiment, said it is unlikely that the disease can spread to cattle.


    Still, "there is no way you can say 'no risk,'" she said. "The way the research is piling up, I think you can say 'low.'"


    Researchers likely will not have the results of the experiment for several years. Next year, they plan similar experiments with pigs and sheep.


    There is no known way for deer to spread the disease to humans, but experts say hunters should take precautions when preparing deer for food, including cooking it thoroughly.


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    On the Net:


    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/


    U.S. Department of Agriculture: http://www.usda.gov/

    ==============================
    "Those who seek to predict the future... might first look to the past. The past is a mirror -- and those who ignore its sometimes dark reflection, are doomed to repeat it... Will it be those seeking redemption who shall decide the future... or will those driven only by greed and envy shape our destiny? Even a hundred years later, the outcome is still very much in doubt. .." Outer Limits(Heart's Desire)



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