Deer disease driving deer delirious

Cole Cline, Reporter

     Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a prion disease that affects deer, elk, and moose in North America. This disease is spreading fast and causes many neurological problems in the minds of the deer. It causes drastic weight loss (wasting), stumbling, listlessness and other neurologic symptoms. The disease has been found in northern counties of West Virginia and Virginia. Luckily, the disease has not spread into Tazewell county.

         According to the CDC, nationwide, the overall occurrence of CWD in free-ranging deer and elk is relatively low. However, in several locations where the disease is established, infection rates may exceed 10 percent (1 in 10), and localized infection rates of more than 25 percent (1 in 4) have been reported. The infection rates among some captive deer can be much higher, with a rate of 79% (nearly 4 in 5) reported from at least one captive herd 

         It is not known how the disease spreads, but is is thought to be spread by body fluids like feces, saliva, blood, or urine, either through direct contact or indirectly through environmental contamination of soil, food or water. CWD has shown to not infect humans as no cases of CWD in humans has ever been reported. However, if CWD ever did spread to humans, it would most likely be by eating infected meat. This is why hunters need to know about this disease and how it affects our ecosystem. 

            Local hunters have been worried about the disease spreading into southwest Virginia; however, many hunters have never heard of the disease. “I had no idea that CWD was something I needed to be worried about,” said Eric Myers (9). Many hunters do not know of the dangers of this disease to the wildlife in the area. The deer population will dwindle and hurt the entire ecosystem of our area if the disease spreads into southwest Virginia. “I didn’t know that CWD posed such a danger to our community,” said Nick Kastner (12). 

     Graham High School hunters need to be aware of the dangers of this disease before it spreads to our community. The CWD is a problem that the school must be aware about before it is too late. “I will research this disease that check all my deer meat for CWD,” said Nick Kastner(12).

     Our school needs to be aware of the fact that a dangerous disease affecting deer is spreading into our county. Our school contains many hunters and they need to know the risks of CWD and how it affects our community. 


Transmission. (2019, February 25). Retrieved from

Transmission. (2019, February 25). Retrieved from