ROMNEY - Test results have detected the chronic wasting disease agent in 11 white-tailed deer collected this spring in Hampshire County, according to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

All the deer that tested positive for CWD were collected by Wildlife Resources Section personnel working in the Slanesville/Augusta area. No new positive samples were detected in the Yellow Springs area.

These collections have been designed to investigate and determine the prevalence and distribution of the disease in Hampshire County. Wildlife biologists are carefully monitoring changes in the structure of the deer herd within the CWD containment area.

The first case of CWD in West Virginia was confirmed Sept. 2, 2005. Since that time, DNR has been implementing its CWD Incident Response Plan, which is designed to accomplish the following objectives.

* Determine the distribution and prevalence of CWD through enhanced surveillance efforts.

* Communicate and coordinate with the public and appropriate agencies on issues relating to CWD and the steps being taken to respond to this disease.

* Initiate appropriate management actions necessary to control the spread of this disease and prevent further introduction of the disease.

CWD surveillance efforts conducted by DNR have resulted in 31 deer being confirmed positive in Hampshire County. These include 30 deer in the Slanes-ville/Augusta area and one deer in the Yellow Springs area. CWD has not been detected outside Hampshire County.

The neurological disease is found in deer and elk and belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform enceph-alopathies. The disease is thought to be caused by abnormal, proteinaceous particles called prions that slowly attack the brain, causing the animals to progressively become emaciated and display abnormal behavior and invariably results in the death of the infected animal.

There is no known treatment for CWD and there is no evidence to suggest CWD poses a risk for humans or domestic animals.

"Landowner and hunter cooperation throughout this entire CWD surveillance effort in Hampshire County has been excellent," said DNR Director Frank Jezioro. "We would especially like to thank all the cooperating landowners in Hampshire County for allowing our personnel to enter their property and collect deer for CWD testing."

"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."

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