ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The latest Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) numbers show minimal spread among white-tail deer in the New River Valley.
Chronic Wasting Disease is a neurological disease caused by a defective protein known as a prion. It affects members of the Cervid family of animals. That family includes white-tail deer, elk, and moose. In some cases, animals infected with the disease can take up to two years to show symptoms. Those symptoms include disorientation and emaciation. The disease is fatal and has ravaged some deer herds in western North America.
Locally, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources has established regions made up of counties where cases of CWD have been recorded, or counties neighboring those counties. Montgomery, Floyd, Carroll, and Pulaski Counties make up Disease Management Area (DMA) Three.
Deer harvested in those counties may not be moved out of the DMA, and any harvested deer must be reported and tested.
During the most recent fall and winter deer hunting seasons, 1,170 deer were harvested in DMA3. Of those, eight tested positive.
Here are the positive cases broken down by county:
- Montgomery 4
- Floyd 3
- Pulaski 1
The case from Pulaski County is the first recorded there.
Patrick County will be added to DMA3 on May 1 because a positive case was recorded just across the border in Surry County, North Carolina.
CWD is not known to affect humans. There has been no known case of the disease spreading into the human population. However, the disease is known to affect some non-human primates like monkeys. Because of that, scientists advise people not to handle or eat deer known to have CWD.