A scary thought is now confirmed: CWD is in the soil. Until now, the latest information on chronic wasting disease suggested that the malady is passed only via direct contact between deer. But scientists have long suspected indirect transmission, as well, and now they have found evidence of it. University of Wisconsin at Madison researchers have discovered that CWD-causing prions can adhere tightly to clay-based soil and, as this Portage Daily Register article puts it, “create a reservoir for infection.”