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J Gen Virol. 2012 Jan;93(Pt 1):212-21. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.035006-0. Epub 2011 Sep 14.

Evidence for distinct chronic wasting disease (CWD) strains in experimental CWD in ferrets.

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  • 1Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand.


Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an evolving prion disease of cervids (deer, elk and moose) that has been recognized in North America and Korea. Infection of non-cervid reservoir or transport species in nature is not reported. However, the ferret (Mustela putorius furo) is susceptible to CWD after experimental inoculation. Here, we report that infection of ferrets with either of two ferret CWD isolates by various routes of exposure has revealed biologically distinct strain-like properties distinguished by different clinical progression and survival period. The isolates of ferret CWD were also differentiated by the distribution of the infectious prion protein (PrP(CWD)) in the brain and periphery, and by the proteinase K sensitivity of PrP(CWD). These findings suggest that diversity in prion conformers exists in CWD-infected cervids.

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