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Detection of prions in the faeces of sheep naturally infected with classical scrapie

By Linda A Terry, Laurence Howells, Keith Bishop, Claire A Baker, Sally Everest, Leigh Thorne, Ben C Maddison and Kevin C Gough


Classical scrapie is a naturally transmitted prion disease of sheep and goats. Contaminated environments may contribute to the spread of disease and evidence from animal models has implicated urine, blood, saliva, placenta and faeces as possible sources of the infection. Here we sought to determine whether sheep naturally infected with classical scrapie shed prions in their faeces. We used serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (sPMCA) along with two extraction methods to examine faeces from sheep during both the clinical and preclinical phases of the disease and showed amplification of PrPSc in 7 of 15 and 14 of 14 sheep respectively. However PrPSc was not amplified from the faeces of 25 sheep not exposed to scrapie. These data represent the first demonstration of prion shedding in faeces from a naturally infected host and thus a likely source of prion contamination in the environment

Topics: Research
Publisher: BioMed Central
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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