Chronic wasting disease found in four more deer

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Test results have detected the chronic wasting disease agent in four additional deer collected during the first week of the 2008 spring collections in Hampshire County, according to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

The deer were collected by sharp-shooter teams working in the Slanesville/Augusta area of the county. No new positive samples have been detected so far in the Yellow Springs area.

Goal

The object of the collections is to continue to define prevalence and distribution of the disease, as well as monitoring changes in the structure of the deer herd in the containment area near Slanesville, where chronic wasting disease has been detected the past few years.

Special collections do not seem to be affecting total numbers, but do seem to be having an affect on age structure and reproductive rate which is seen as a positive aspect of the program.

Field sampling is not yet fully completed for the year. If any Hampshire County containment area landowner would still like to participate by allowing biologists to collect two or three deer on their property, they should contact the District 2 office in Romney at 304-822-3551.

What it is

Chronic wasting disease 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 chronic wasting disease, and it is fatal for the infected deer or elk. It is important to note that currently there is no evidence to suggest chronic wasting disease poses a risk for humans or domestic animals.

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