The first-ever recorded case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been recorded in Alabama.

According to a preliminary report from the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, a non-negative case of CWD was discovered in Lauderdale County. Lauderdale County is the northwestern-most county in Alabama, bordering both Tennessee and Mississippi. 

The case was later confirmed positive by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. 

CWD has been a concern for scientists and hunters alike in Alabama for several years. The detection of CWD in the state has come after a long program and campaign of early detection in the state enacted by The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. The program asked hunters to submit the heads of their kills for CWD testing. 

With this case of CWD reaching Alabama, it is even more highly recommended that hunters submit samples. Details can be found here.

CWD is one variation of prion disease, a disease that can cause abnormal folding of proteins in the brain, called prions. All forms of prion disease cause a neurological breakdown of the infected host, which can manifest itself as breakdowns of physiology and mental capacity. The visible symptoms of CWD are listlessness, weight loss, and a general deterioration in neurological function. 

Prion disease can spontaneously present itself in humans and animals that consume the brain matter of the same or similar species. But infections can spread by contact with an infected host's carcass, bodily fluid, or cranial matter. 

There has not been a reported case of CWD in humans in Alabama.

Prion disease has been found in cannibalistic societies that have consumed the brain matter of other humans or come in contact with the fluids of other infected individuals. Modern-day transmission of prion disease comes through contaminated brain products, such as human growth hormone, corneal grafts, dural grafts, and electrode implants. 

Prion disease is also the cause of Mad Cow Disease, which was a significant concern for American consumers in the early 2000s.

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