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A Cure For Chronic Wasting Disease?

Jennifer Smith

Posted on February 05 2019

Since first being discovered in the 1960's, Chronic Wasting Disease has been found in 24 states, including Pennsylvania.

The disease affects deer and elk.  It is always fatal and there is no cure, but one scientist is working on one.

The Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania spoke at the state capitol in support of one researcher who says he has found the true cause of Chronic Wasting Disease and that could lead to a cure.

John Eveland of Unified Sportsmen of PA says, "To date, the mainstream theory is that the disease is caused by a malformed protein, called a prion."

But, according to Dr. Frank Bastian at Louisiana State University's Department of Agriculture, that is not the case.  He believes CWD is actually caused by a previously undiscovered species of bacteria called spiroplasma. 

Eveland tells us, "Because prion is always present in infected animals, it was erroneously assumed that prions were the cause of the disease."

Dr. Bastian's team is now working on developing a diagnostic test kit that would allow hunters to immediately test deer for the disease in the field. 

Eveland says, "Your deer could appear completely healthy, but still be infected. Now, you'll immediately know if it's infected."

The hope is to ultimately develop a vaccine for the disease.  On Monday, the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania announced a funding drive to help Dr. Bastian complete his research.

Stephen Mohr, Chairman of the Board for USPA, says, "You stick with us and you give us some support, and CWD's going to be history, if we can help it."

In a statement, the Pennsylvania State Game Commission responded, saying, "decades of research have provided abundant evidence that prions are the infectious agent of CWD." It goes on to say, "while alternative theories exist, they have not been thoroughly researched."

Story re-posted from, Written by Matt Heckel