Prion Disease Spreading By Water Contamination

One vector that is adding to Alzheimer’s disease and our prion exposure involves sewage disposal. As you will read, sewage poses a great risk to human health—it always has been a biohazard. But with a global population that is bursting at the seams, there isn’t a safe place to put it all. So, it often ends up on our beaches and in our rivers, lakes and groundwater.

Click on this link to see the countries with the highest rates of dementia:

Visit to find your country’s Alzheimer’s/dementia rate.

One thing that these countries all have in common is that the leading countries all have heavily populated coastlines. Many of the largest cities in all of these countries, and elsewhere around the world, dump tons of barely-treated sewage at sea every day. They use underwater outfalls (large pipes), rivers and canals to move the sewage to sea without drawing attention from the masses. Ships also dump their sewage at sea, while airlines have been known to drop “blue ice” from the air. We are swimming in sewage. So is much of the global food supply.

prion disease and TSE

Adding insult to injury, hurricanes and large storms often bring sewage back to coastal cities and bury them with contaminated water. Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, for example, buried New Orleans, New York City and the New Jersey coast in prion-laced sewage and other toxins. As far as prions are concerned, these areas and others weathered by sea storms are permanently contaminated.

Boston, for example, dumps about 500 million gallons of “treated effluent” into the ocean every day.

Boston’s underwater outfall takes the sewage out about nine miles into Massachusetts Bay (about 36 miles from Cape Cod Bay). My guess is that fishing is barely restricted, if at all, in the surrounding area. As we move up and down the heavily populated east coast of the U.S., we encounter sewage outfalls frequently.

In addition to the threat to humans, the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale frequents these polluted waters, as do dolphins and many other marine species. Boston’s world-famous clam chowder wouldn’t exist if not for these waters. Now one might ask if eating local seafood—anywhere—is a good idea.

In the summer of 2013, dolphin and whale deaths across the North Atlantic have reached alarming heights with no definitive answers. Hopefully, researchers will look very hard into the prospect of prion disease, not to mention other toxins and disease being dumped via sewage.

Marine mammals are vulnerable to prion disease. It makes me wonder what prions do to fish and shellfish. Aquaculture also runs the risk of putting prions into the ocean and the food chain. The question is the food used to feed these fish. Fish farms typically use large floating cages in the open ocean that hold thousands of fish. Water flows freely from inside the cages to wild fish on the outside.

If the fish food contains animal protein, the risk of transmitting disease exists to the farmed fish, wild fish, and anything that consumes either kind. The disease pathogen also is transferred to the water in the process. The water can contaminate anything touched. In the ocean, the pathogen encounters zero boundaries.

CJD is our worst-case scenario for prion defense because the prion pathogen behind these diseases is in victims’ urine, blood, feces and saliva. Therefore, sewage sludge is adding to the environmental contamination caused by prions. If Alzheimer’s is a prion disease, then those patients also are adding to the prion load in our sewers and beyond. As we discuss later, sewage is an environmental nightmare capable of recycling diseases, pathogens, and toxins to people, livestock, wildlife, and ocean dwellers.

Prions are truly a case of Pandora’s lunchbox.Once released, they are impossible to contain again.

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