CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — A free-roaming deer in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle tested positive for rabies.
The Hampshire County Health Department announced Wednesday that the West Virginia Department of Agriculture notified it of a positive case in the county. The confirmed case indicates that more animals in the area are likely infected as well.
“As hunting season has begun across West Virginia. It is important for hunters to remember that all mammals, including white-tailed deer, are susceptible to rabies,” the county health department said in a Facebook post.
Rabies virus can be transmitted through the animal’s saliva and blood into an open wound.
The health department recommends that hunters do the following to prevent contracting the disease while hunting:
- Include disposable gloves in your hunting gear.
- Wear gloves when field dressing or butchering mammals, and discard gloves in the trash.
- Wash your hands with soap and water when you are finished.
- Do not consume animals that appear to be abnormal.
- Report neurologic deer by contacting the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources: https://wvdnr.gov/contact/
West Virginia is currently in archery and crossbow season for white-tailed deer, and firearm season will begin in 51 counties on Nov. 20. Although as a Chronic Waste Disease containment county, transferring a dead deer out of Hampshire County is already against the DNR’s regulations, hunters across the state should be aware of the symptoms of rabies before their hunts.
Some indications that a deer might be infected with rabies include:
- Balance problems
- Lying on the ground/struggling
- Lack of fear
- Appearance of injured hind legs
- Excessive salivating