Prion Disease Spreading Globally

Dr. Stanley Prusiner, an American neuroscientist from the University of California at San Francisco, earned a Nobel Prize in 1997 for discovering, naming and characterizing deadly prions and prion disease. President Obama awarded Prusiner the National Medal of Science in 2010 to recognize the rising importance of his research. Unfortunately, U.S. policy on many fronts ignores the perils of prions. Most countries are guilty of the same offense.

Stanley Prusiner and prions

When the U.S. government enacted the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, it included a provision to halt research on prions in all but two laboratories. It classified prions as select agents that pose an extreme risk to food, water and more. It was a step in the right direction.

Unfortunately, industry pressure convinced the Center For Disease Control to quietly take prions off the list of special agents two years ago. Keeping prions listed threatened to outlaw several multi-billion dollar industries. This reversal kept the floodgates open to the prion threat. Especially regarding sewage, agriculture and wastewater reclamation industries.

The problem with prions is that they linger in the environment infinitely because they defy all attempts at sterilization and inactivation. Unlike viruses or bacteria, prions are not alive. Therefore, they can’t be killed. Victims contaminate cups, dishes, utensils, air and much more with just their saliva, mucus, cough or sneeze. Victims also visit doctors and dentists every day. Some have surgery. Unfortunately, surgical and dental instruments used on these victims are hopelessly contaminated. Hospitals have been successfully sued because of the negligence and the exposure. Now, medical instruments are thrown away after known prion exposure.

Pandora-like prions are out of the box and contaminating homes, communities and entire watersheds—including our food and water supplies. It’s time for government and industry to lead, follow or get out of the way of the truth and solutions.

Alzheimer's disease epidemic

Alzheimer’s disease is a member of an aggressive family of neurodegenerative diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.” The spectrum of TSEs includes Alzheimer’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakobmad cow and chronic wasting disease in deer. It appears that autism is part of the same spectrum. Few, if any, mammals are immune.

TSEs are unstoppable and incurable. The pathogen spreads through the bodily fluids and cell tissue of its victims. Prions have been detected in the blood, urine, mucus, feces, milk, saliva and aerosols from victims of the disease. Blood alone assures that every ounce of the victim is contaminated. As organs and tissue become infected, the body sheds more and more prions into the environment every day. Exposure to these prions puts caregivers in harm’s way. A new study from Duke University found that caregivers of people with dementia are six times more likely to contract the disease.

sewage treatment process prions

It doesn’t matter how the person acquires the disease, victims of prion disease are infectious long before they appear sick. These carriers are leading normal lives, while the disease incubates within. These walking victims are donating blood, eating at your favorite restaurant, going to your dentist and loading public sewer systems with every flush. Unfortunately, much of the sewage is dumped where it contaminates your food and your water.

Prions spread uncontrollably and contaminate everything that they touch—much like radiation. Unlike radiation, however, prions do not deplete themselves. They migrate, mutate, multiply and kill with unparalleled efficiency. Each victim becomes an incubator and a distributor of the Pandora-like pathogen. The human prion is resistant to both heat and chemicals. It’s reported that prions released from people are up to a hundred thousand times more difficult to deactivate than prions from most animals.

chronic wasting disease caused by sewage sludge

Prion diseases are killing humans, wildlife and livestock around the world today. It’s been gaining momentum over the past century. So has mismanagement by government, some researchers and industry.

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Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic wasting disease and the prion disease epidemic is an area of special expertise. Please contact Gary Chandler to join our coalition for reform