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Sixteen New CWD Cases Found in Hampshire County


The slow growth and spread of chronic wasting disease continues in West Virginia. DNR Biologists report 16 deer killed by hunters in the 2009 deer season tested positive for the presence of CWD. The DNR pulled those positives from 1,091 deer killed by hunters in Hampshire at local checking stations during the season.

"It’s not the greatest news and certainly wasn’t the Christmas present I was hoping to open, but you know when you’re dealing with CWD and lots of unknowns associated with it, having a result with 16 positives was not necessarily unexpected at all,"  said Paul Johansen, Chief of the DNR’s Game Management on West Virginia Outdoors.

The 16 infected whitetails included one 4.5 year old doe, a 2.5 year old doe, one 1.5 year old buck, ten 2.5 year old bucks, and three 3.5 year old bucks.

The DNR discovered Chronic Wasting Disease in 2005 in a road killed deer near the community of Slanesville. Since that time a containment zone was established north of Route 50 in Hampshire County with special restrictions on hunting and constant monitoring. This year’s count included 13-infected deer within that zone and two from outside the border, but still within Hampshire County.

"This is not the first time we’ve detected a positive outside that containment zone," said Johansen. "We’re going to have to take a look at that containment zone and see if it should be expanded."

CWD is an incredibly slow disease. Although deer may be infected, they show no signs of the illness until in the very last stages when they become emaciated and disoriented. Otherwise, infected deer show no signs they are carrying the virus without testing of the brain or spinal tissue. Researchers conclude feeding or baiting deer is one of the fastest ways to spread the virus with nose-to-nose contact. Restrictions have been placed on feeding and baiting deer in the containment area.

“Despite our agency’s best efforts, we continue to struggle with CWD in Hampshire County,” said DNR Director Frank Jezioro. “I am particularly concerned that some individuals are not complying with regulations prohibiting the feeding and baiting of deer within the Hampshire County CWD Containment Area.”

"In certain areas of the containment zone we have information to indicate there is some baiting and feeding activity that’s going on," said Johansen. "That concerns us as we try to grapple with this disease."

The agency plans to renew efforts to engage the public’s help in controlling the spread and compliance with restrictions enacted to slow the spread. Those efforts will include additional law enforcement activities if needed.

“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,” Jezioro said. “The WVDNR remains committed to keeping the public informed and involved in these wildlife disease management actions as we go forward.”

The CWD Management Strategy to this point includes the following restrictions in Hampshire County:

· Implemented CWD testing efforts designed to determine the prevalence and distribution of the disease;

· Established antlerless deer hunting regulations designed to increase hunter opportunity to harvest female deer, adjust deer populations to desired levels and reduce the risk of spreading the disease from deer to deer;

· Established deer carcass transport restrictions designed to lower the risk of moving the disease to other locations;

· Established regulations designed to prohibit the feeding and baiting of deer within the affected area and reduce the risk of spreading the disease from deer to deer.

Hunters concerned about consumption of venison from infected animals are advised to use their own judgment. Researchers and DNR biologist say there’s no known instance of CWD affecting humans.


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