Four More Deer With Fatal
CWD (Mad Cow) In WVa

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
Preliminary testing has detected the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) agent in 4 more free-ranging white-tailed deer recently collected in Hampshire County as part of an ongoing and intensive CWD surveillance effort, it was announced today by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR). This brings the total of CWD-positive deer found in Hampshire County since last fall to 9.
These most recent samples were collected in March and April by DNR's deer collection teams working in Hampshire County. The CWD laboratory testing was conducted by the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, which is located at the University of Georgia's College of Veterinary Medicine in Athens, Georgia.
When CWD was first confirmed in September 2005 in Hampshire County, DNR immediately implemented its CWD - Incident Response Plan. As part of that plan, DNR has been engaged in intensive CWD surveillance efforts designed to determine the distribution and prevalence of the disease.
From September 2005 through April 2006, a total of 1317 Hampshire County deer were tested for CWD. These samples consisted of 1016 hunter-harvested deer taken during the 2005 fall hunting season, 216 deer collected by DNR in the fall of 2005, and 85 additional deer most recently collected by DNR in 2006. CWD was not detected in any of the hunter-harvested deer collected last fall. Of the 216 deer collected by DNR in the fall of 2005, 4 were confirmed to have the CWD agent, and now, preliminary tests indicate that 4 of the 85 deer collected by DNR in 2006 have the CWD agent. The disease has now been detected in a total of 9 deer in Hampshire County (i.e., one road-killed deer, 4 deer collected by the DNR in 2005, and 4 deer collected by the DNR in 2006).
"Analysis of these initial CWD surveillance data indicates the disease appears to be found in a relatively small geographical area located near Slanesville, West Virginia," noted DNR Director Frank Jezioro.
"From a wildlife disease management perspective, we consider this to be encouraging news. Based upon these CWD surveillance findings, we are taking the steps necessary to implement appropriate management actions designed to control the spread of this disease, prevent further introduction of the disease, and possibly eliminate the disease from the state," Jezioro said.
The following disease management options are being evaluated by the DNR for use within the affected area of Hampshire County:
- Lower deer population levels to reduce the risk of spreading the disease from deer to deer by implementing appropriate antlerless deer hunting regulations designed to increase hunters' opportunities to harvest female deer;
- Establish reasonable, responsible, and appropriate deer carcass transport restrictions designed to lower the risk of moving the disease to other locations;
- Establish reasonable, responsible, and appropriate regulations relating to the feeding and baiting of deer within the affected area to reduce the risk of spreading the disease from deer to deer.
"Landowner cooperation throughout this entire CWD surveillance effort in Hampshire County has been just terrific," Jezioro noted. "As we strive to meet this wildlife disease challenge and implement appropriate management strategies, the support and involvement of landowners and hunters will continue to be essential. 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.
CWD was first recognized in 1967 in Colorado, and it subsequently has been found in captive deer and elk herds in 9 states and 2 Canadian provinces and in free-ranging deer and elk in 11 states and 2 provinces. In 2005 the disease was found as far east as New York and West Virginia. The source of infection for wild and captive deer and elk in new geographical areas is unknown in many instances. While it is not known exactly how CWD is transmitted, lateral spread from animal to animal through shedding of the infectious agent from the digestive tract appears to be important, and indirect transmission through environmental contamination with infective material is likely.
"Our well-trained and professional wildlife biologists, wildlife managers and conservation officers are working diligently to fully implement the DNR's CWD - Incident Response Plan, which is designed to effectively address this wildlife disease threat," said Jezioro.
"Hunters, landowners and other members of the public should feel confident that we have some of the best wildlife biologists and veterinarians in the world, including those stationed at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens, Georgia, working collaboratively on this situation."
More information on CWD can be found at the DNR's Web site:
and the CWD Alliance website:
Terry S. Singeltary Sr.
ProMed Mail
This moderator can't help but think of her favorite adage... seek and ye shall find. It looks like there is still much to learn about the epidemiology and transmission of CWD, and the true prevalence/incidence of CWD in both captive as well as wild herds of cervids in North America. More information on prevalence and incidence data is awaited. The above data do not allow for an easy estimation of rates as the various "sampling" methods are not clear, but numbers suggest that of 216 deer collected by DNR in 2005, 4 (1.9 percent) were positive, and of 85 collected by the DNR in 2006, 4 were positive (4.7 percent) -- a greater than 2 fold increase in positivity that may be a function of sampling methodology. - Mod.MPP
Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
Univ of West Indies
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Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health



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