Released - January 21, 2010

Statement Regarding Today’s Press Release From the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries – Chronic Wasting Disease Found in White-tailed Deer In Virginia

            We have received word today from the Game Department that a whitetail deer has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease.  This deer was killed less than one mile from the West Virginia border in Frederick County.  This is the first confirmed case of this disease in Virginia.  While this disease is new to Virginia it is not new to the United States.  Seventeen other states have chronic wasting disease in their deer population and we will be collecting information from the venison donation programs in those states as to what precautions we should put in place. We are fortunate that we can learn from the experience of other programs to develop a plan of action for our state. Hunters for the Hungry is committed to providing a quality product and will work diligently to do so.  We encourage anyone wanting to learn more about Chronic Wasting Disease to visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website:  www.dgif.virginia.gov/cwd anyone wanting to learn more about Hunters for the Hungry can visit our website at www.h4hungry.org.  We can also be reached at 1-800-352-4868.

Contact:  Laura Newell-Furniss, Director

Also for your information we are providing this specific information from the VDGIF website http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/diseases/cwd/

 Is CWD dangerous to humans?

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have conducted investigations for any relationships between CWD and human neurological disease. These organizations state that there currently is no scientific evidence that CWD has infected humans. Data from states with both CWD and large populations of deer hunters show no greater likelihood of humans developing prion diseases. Further, testing of macaques (primates commonly used as human surrogates for research) and genetically-engineered mice provide evidence that there is likely a species barrier that prevents humans from getting CWD. However, public health officials recommend that human exposure to the CWD agent be avoided as they continue to evaluate the potential risk, if any.