From West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
-- Preliminary test results have detected Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in five hunter-harvested deer collected in Hampshire County during the 2007 deer firearms hunting season.
"As part of our agency's ongoing and intensive CWD surveillance effort, samples were collected from 1,285 hunter-harvested deer brought to game checking stations in Hampshire County," noted Frank Jezioro, director, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR).
The five CWD positive deer included one 2.5 year-old doe, two 2.5 year-old bucks, one 3.5 year-old buck and one 4.5 year-old buck. Four of the five deer were harvested within the Hampshire County CWD Containment Area (i.e., that portion of Hampshire County located North of U.S. Route 50). The fifth deer was also harvested in Hampshire County, but it was outside the CWD Containment Area near Yellow Springs.
CWD has now been detected in a total of 19 deer in Hampshire County (i.e., one road-killed deer confirmed in 2005, four deer collected by the DNR in 2005, five deer collected by the DNR in 2006, one hunter-harvest deer taken during the 2006 deer season, three deer collected by the DNR in 2007 and five hunter-harvested deer taken during the 2007 deer season).
"Landowner and hunter cooperation throughout this entire CWD surveillance effort in Hampshire County has been fantastic," Jezioro said. "As we strive to meet this wildlife disease challenge and implement appropriate management strategies, the continued support and involvement of landowners and hunters will be essential. The DNR remains committed to keeping the public informed and involved in these wildlife disease management actions."
CWD is a neurological disease found in deer and elk, and it belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. The disease is thought to be caused by abnormal, proteinaceous particles called prions that slowly attack the brain of infected deer and elk, causing the animals to progressively become emaciated, display abnormal behavior and invariably results in the death of the infected animal.
There is no known treatment for CWD, and it is fatal for the infected deer or elk. It is important to note that currently there is no evidence to suggest CWD poses a risk for humans or domestic animals.