From the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
-- With the cooperation of local landowners, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources tested 152 deer collected from within one to two miles of previously known locations of Chronic Wasting Disease-infected deer. Testing detected CWD in 12 white-tailed deer sampled during the 2010 spring collections in Hampshire County, according to the DNR.
The detection of 15 CWD positive deer during the fall 2009 hunting season, combined with this spring's testing results, has required the expansion of the CWD Containment Area to include all of Hampshire County. Within the CWD Containment Area, supplemental feeding and baiting of deer is prohibited and there are transport restrictions for deer carcasses leaving the county.
The spring CWD monitoring of deer provides an incidence rate of infected CWD deer in the area of established infection and removes CWD positive deer from the landscape. In addition, wildlife biologists also use the information to monitor changes in age structure and reproduction in the deer herd within the established CWD infected area.
The first case of CWD in West Virginia was confirmed Sept. 2, 2005. Since then, the DNR has been fully engaged in its CWD Incident Response Plan, which is designed to accomplish the several objective, including determining the distribution and prevalence of CWD through enhanced surveillance efforts.
Other objectives are communicating and coordinating with the public and appropriate agencies on issues relating to CWD and the steps being taken to respond to this disease, and initiating management actions necessary to control the spread of CWD.
To date, CWD surveillance efforts conducted by the DNR have resulted in a total of 74 deer confirmed positive for CWD in Hampshire County. Ongoing and extensive surveillance efforts conducted by Wildlife Resources Section personnel throughout West Virginia have not detected CWD outside of Hampshire County.
CWD is a neurological disease found in deer and elk and belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. The disease is currently accepted as being caused by abnormal, proteinaceous particles called prions that slowly attack the brain of infected deer and elk. Animals progressively become emaciated, display abnormal behavior and invariably die as a result of the disease. 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.
"Landowner and hunter cooperation throughout this entire CWD response effort in Hampshire County continues to be excellent," according to DNR Director Frank Jezioro. "As we strive to implement appropriate management strategies, landowner and hunter support and involvement remain essential. We're committed to keeping the public informed and involved in these wildlife disease management actions."