Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Montana Wildlife
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Inzalaco, H.N., E.E. Brandell, S. Wilson, M. Hunsaker, D.R. Stahler, K. Woelfel, D.P. Walsh, T. Nordeen, D.J. Storm, S.S. Lichtenberg, W.C. Turner. 2024. Detection of prions from spiked and free-ranging carnivore feces, Scientific Reports, 14: 3804.


We assessed recovery and detection of PrPCWD by experimental spiking of PrPCWD into carnivore feces from 9 species sourced from CWD-free populations or captive facilities. We then applied this technique to detect PrPCWD from feces of predators and scavengers in free-ranging populations. Our results demonstrate that spiked PrPCWD is detectable from feces of free-ranging mammalian and avian carnivores using RT-QuIC. Results show that PrPCWD acquired in natural settings is detectable in feces from free-ranging carnivores, and that PrPCWD rates of detection in carnivore feces reflect relative prevalence estimates observed in the corresponding cervid populations. This study adapts an important diagnostic tool for CWD, allowing investigation of the epidemiology of CWD at the community-level.