DGIF confirms 21 new CWD-positive white-tailed deer in Virginia

Department of Game and Inland FisheriesThe Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries confirmed chronic wasting disease (CWD) in 20 deer from Disease Management Area 1 in 2019.

The total included 13 deer in Frederick County, five deer in Shenandoah County, and two deer in Clarke County. As previously reported, one deer harvested in Fauquier County also tested positive for the disease during the 2019 hunting season.

No CWD-positive deer were detected in Disease Management Area 2, which includes Culpeper, Madison, and Orange Counties, where CWD was detected for the first time in one deer in 2018.

Over 1,100 deer from DMA1 (Frederick, Clarke, Warren, and Shenandoah counties) were tested for CWD during the 2019 hunting season, and over 1,600 samples were collected in DMA2.

Since 2009, 88 CWDpositive deer have been confirmed from Frederick (74), Shenandoah (10), Clarke (2), Culpeper (1), and Fauquier (1) counties.

This spring and summer, the DGIF will be working with cooperating partners and members of the CWD Response Team to determine the most appropriate measures moving forward.

In addition to the sampling effort in the Disease Management Areas, DGIF collaborated with dozens of taxidermists to enhance CWD surveillance throughout the remainder of Virginia. This partnership proved effective in acquiring over 2,000 samples from across the state. The results of this effort are currently pending and will be released once received from the laboratory.

CWD has been detected in 26 states and three Canadian provinces. The disease is a slow, progressive neurologic (brain and nervous system) disease found in deer, elk, and moose in North America which ultimately results in death of the infected animal.

The disease causing agent is spread through urine, feces, and saliva of infected animals. Symptoms may not appear for over 15 months and include staggering, abnormal posture, lowered head, drooling, confusion, and marked weight loss.

There is no evidence that CWD can be naturally transmitted to humans, livestock, or pets, with the possible exception of pigs, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise hunters to test all deer harvested from known CWD-positive areas and to not consume any animals that test positive for the disease.

For additional resources and comprehensive information pertaining to CWD, visit www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/disease/cwd.

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