Chronic wasting disease (CWD) was diagnosed in a free-ranging moose (Alces alces shirasi) killed by a hunter in Jackson County, Colorado, USA, in September 2005. The diagnosis was based upon immunohistochemistry (IHC) demonstrating the presence of accumulations of CWD-associated prion protein (PrPCWD) in tissue sections of medulla oblongata at the level of the obex (dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus) and in retropharyngeal lymph node (RPLN); additional testing by IHC revealed deposits of PrPCWD in multiple sections of medulla oblongata and cervical spinal cord as well as palatine tonsil and submandibular lymph node tissues. Western blot confirmed the presence of PrPCWD in RPLN and tonsil tissue. The PrPCWD also was detected via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay of RPLN tissue. Spongiform encephalopathy was observed in sections of the brainstem and cervical spinal cord, although no clinical signs were noted by the hunter who killed the animal. The affected moose was homozygous for methionine at codon 209 of the prion protein coding region. In October 2006, two additional free-ranging moose were diagnosed with CWD. Epidemiology and implications of CWD in moose remain to be determined.
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Vol. 43 • No. 2