Hunter Beware: Infectious proteins found in deer muscle | Science News

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Hunter Beware: Infectious proteins found in deer muscle

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11:37am, January 25, 2006

Infectious agents called prions that cause a mad cow–like disease in deer and elk are present in the infected animals' muscles, according to a new study. Prions had been shown to congregate primarily in the brains and spinal cords of infected animals, so the finding could increase concern among people who eat deer meat.

Researchers have found that prions are responsible for similar diseases in several species: for example, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in people; bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease, in cows; and chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer and elk. These diseases start when a normal protein present in all mammals, called the prion protein, b

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