Don 't Get Wasted By Chronic Wasting Disease

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Don’t Get Wasted by Chronic Wasting Disease Can you imagine the impact of a fatal disease on a population? Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD for short, is a prime example in the whitetail deer herd. CWD is a fatal neurological disease, more specifically known as a type of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). In deer, this disease causes a characteristic spongy degeneration of the brains of infected animals, resulting in emaciation, excessive drinking and urination, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions, and death (Witkowski 3). With the discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease the question arises what exactly is this disease and how detrimental has and will CWD be on the population of whitetail deer? Chronic Wasting Disease…show more content…
CWD was quickly on the rise and overtaking large areas of land, making it hard to suppress the condition in a small area. Instead of spending money on methods not proven to contain the disorder, the Wisconsin DNR decided to further research Chronic Wasting Disease and how it was spread. Scientists determined that CWD transmission occurs when disease prions are shed by infected animals through saliva, urine, feces and natural decomposition after death. A prion is the agent that transmits TSE category diseases. In addition, CWD prions are extremely resistant to the environment, and transmission may occur directly between animals or indirectly between uninfected animals and the environment (Witkowski 3). Thus, the disease is highly contagious, as the prions are very hardy and can survive nearly anywhere. The prions adhere and bind to the substrate using competitive inhibition, or when the inhibitor binds to the active site on the substrate, kicking off and not allowing the enzyme that would normally bind to attach there. As a result, the infectious prion takes over and is what causes the transmission of the disease. Also, because the sickness is spread through feces and saliva, everywhere an infected deer eats or walks throughout the day may contain traces of contamination. Supplementary, CWD is an unfailingly fatal brain disease. Once a deer contracts the fatal illness, the life expectancy ranges anywhere from 18 to 20 months. Deer typically look healthy the first 16

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