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Study finds ticks may be vectors of CWD spread in deer | News

Study finds ticks may be vectors of CWD spread in deer | News


Tick ​​MGN

MADISON (WKOW) — Ticks may be responsible for the spread of chronic wasting disease among Wisconsin’s deer, a new study has found.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found that ticks may carry a transferable amount of protein particles that cause CWD.

CWD is caused by pathogens called prions and can be transmitted from deer to deer through contact with prion-contaminated soil or infected body fluids.

Heather Inzarako, a researcher at the Wisconsin Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit at the Madison, Wisconsin Department of Forest, Wildlife and Ecology, was interested in potential environmental and behavioral means of transmission.

She was able to determine that ticks not only carry prions in their blood meal, but may also carry enough material to infect another animal with CWD.

Inzaraco partnered with the Department of Natural Resources to study ticks from deer collected by hunters and submitted for CWD testing. Of her 176 tick-infected deer she investigated, 15 also tested positive for her CWD. Inzaraco collected ticks from infected deer and tested the blood in them to quantify the amount of prions the ticks carried.

She determined that these swollen, wild ticks definitely carried infectious levels of prions.

The study did not test whether prion-carrying ticks infect other deer.

Inzaraco said ticks could be used as a way to test for CWD in both wild and farmed deer.




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