Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been recognized as a naturally occurring prion disease in North American deer (Odocoileus species) and Rocky mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) and moose (Alces alces). The disease was confirmed only in elk in the Republic of Korea in 2001, 2004 and 2005. Epidemiological investigations showed that CWD was introduced via importation of infected elk from Canada between 1994 and 1997. In spite of the increasing geographic distribution and host range of CWD, little is known about the prion strain(s) responsible for distinct outbreaks of the disease. We carried out strain characterization, using transgenic mice over-expressing elk prion protein, including clinical assessment, pathological examination and biochemical analyses on brain tissues derived following primary through tertiary transmissions. The final incubation period was shortened to approximately 130 dpi due to adaptation. Biochemical profiles remained identical between passages. Lesion profiling in recipient mice brains showed similar patterns of vacuolation scores and intensity. It is clear that there are no biochemical or histopathological differences in Korean CWD cases in 2001 and 2004 suggesting a single strain to be responsible for the outbreaks.
2012 by the Japanese Society of Veterinary Science