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Chronic Wasting Disease FAQs - 5 Found

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What causes chronic wasting disease?

The vast majority of research indicates that the causative agent of chronic wasting disease is a misfolded protein called a prion. All mammals produce normal prions (abbreviated PrPC) that are used by cells, then degraded and eliminated, or recycled, within the body. When disease-associated prions (PrPCWD) contact normal prions, they cause them to refold into their own abnormal shape. These disease-associated prions are not readily broken down and tend to accumulate in lymphatic and neural tissues. Damage associated with PrPCWD accumulation in the brain results in neuronal death and a sponge-like appearance, microscopically.


Learn more:

USGS Fact Sheet on chronic wasting disease

Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

USDA\Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Tags: Animals, Wildlife, Ecosystems