Prions: A Novel Horror

"If Stephen King could write an infectious disease novel, he'd write it about prions," explained epidemiologist Michael Osterholm.

Prions reside in everyone’s body, but when they take the wrong form they cause a chronic wasting disease in deer, moose and elk in the US, Canada and other countries. “Zombie deer disease” spreads through herds for years undetected, then becomes a swift death sentence.

But, Osterholm warns, this is more than a game issue, recalling how mad cow—another prion disease—ultimately spread to humans despite skepticism.


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