Airborne prions are infectious and can induce transmissible spongiform encephalopathies such as mad cow disease and scrapie, report researchers in Switzerland (Haybaeck J et al. PLoS Pathog. 2011;7:e1001257).
In the new work, investigators at the University of Zurich, the University Hospital Zurich, and the University of Tübingen showed that 100% of mice exposed to aerosols containing prions for a single minute succumbed to scrapie. Longer exposures strongly correlated with shortened incubation periods.
Hampton T. Infectious Airborne Prions. JAMA. 2011;305(9):876. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.214