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300 Wyoming Elk Dead After Baffling Paralysis

  1. Mar 10, 2004 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    http://www.earthfiles.com/news/news.cfm?ID=679&category=Environment

    Note: This website can get real whacky but Howe usually does a decent job of reporting on credible stories.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 10, 2004 #2

    selfAdjoint

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    Sounds to me, based on their answers to the prion question, that their definition of a prion disease is too narrow. I didn't see any reference to testing brain tissue, they just looked for physical wasting, a symptom of CWD, and didn't find it. But nervous tissue disorder doesn't have to result in wasting. If a prion got in to some part of the brain that was vital - respiration control, say - it could kill fast and not leave time for physical deterioration.
     
  4. Mar 21, 2004 #3

    Moonbear

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    The investigation is still ongoing, and although the posted article didn't do a good job of explaining much of the details, CWD was eliminated based on tests of brain tissue. The Wyoming Game and Fish website has more detail, including some of the culprits not yet eliminated from the list, such as some likely plant toxins. They are awaiting results from other state labs on the stomach contents of the downed elk. In good news, the elk have begun migrating out of the affected area, and the WGFD is tracking them with radio collars. Hopefully if the problem is localized to that region, the occurrence of the paralysis will cease once the herd moves. If it doesn't resolve, then they can eliminate a few more things from their list of potential culprits. The one thing I'm not clear on from the reports posted so far is whether any of the examinations of nervous tissue has specifically tested spinal cord rather than just brain. Since it seems only their legs are affected and these animals are still able to lift their head and neck, I would think spinal cord should be considered as a target site of infection...or at least the first site of infection.
     
  5. Mar 22, 2004 #4

    Tsu

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