A 19-month-old greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), whose dam had died 15 months earlier with spongiform encephalopathy, required euthanasia after developing severe ataxia and depression with an apparently sudden onset. No macroscopic abnormalities were detected on post mortem examination but a scrapie-like spongiform encephalomyelopathy was apparent on histopathological examination of brain and segments of spinal cord. Negative stain electron microscopy of proteinase K-treated detergent extracts of tissue from the brain stem revealed the presence of scrapie associated fibrils, and a 25 to 28 kDa band comparable with that identified as abnormal PrP (prion protein) from the brains of domestic cattle with spongiform encephalopathy was detected using rabbit antiserum raised against mouse PrP. The animal was born nine months after the statutory ban on the inclusion of ruminant-derived protein in ruminant feeds and, as no other possible sources of the disease were apparent, it appears likely that the infection was acquired from the dam.
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