- 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
- "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
- - 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
- 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
- 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,"
- "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
- Please visit my "Emerging Diseases"
message board at:
- Also my new website:
- Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
- Go with God and in Good Health