Home pagePress monitoringPrion Disease Spreads in Sheep Via Mother's Milk

Prion Disease Spreads in Sheep Via Mother's Milk

Date: 25.1.2011 

Transmission of prion brain diseases such as bovine spongiform enecephalopathy (BSE) - also known as mad cow disease - and human variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is generally attributed to the consumption of the brain or organ meat of infected animals but new research demonstrates lambs exposed to milk from prion-infected sheep with inflamed mammary glands can develop prion disease as well. The research, which is published in the January 2011 issue of the Journal of Virology, has major implications for human and livestock health.

In recent research, this team, led by Ciriaco Ligios of the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale in Sardinia, Italy and Adriano Agguzi at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, reported sheep with misfolded prions in inflamed mammary glands, also known as mastitis, raising concerns that prions could be secreted into milk.

Original Paper:

C. Ligios, M. G. Cancedda, A. Carta, C. Santucciu, C. Maestrale, F. Demontis, M. Saba, C. Patta, J. C. DeMartini, A. Aguzzi, C. J. Sigurdson. Sheep with Scrapie and Mastitis Transmit Infectious Prions through the Milk. Journal of Virology, 2010; 85 (2): 1136 DOI: 10.1128/JVI.02022-10






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