DGIF reports final 2019-2020 chronic wasting disease surveillance numbers

dgifThe Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has concluded the 2019-2020 chronic wasting disease surveillance efforts in Virginia’s white-tailed deer population.

DGIF confirmed CWD in 21 white-tailed deer in northwestern Virginia during the 2019 hunting season. Thirteen CWD-positive deer originated from Frederick County, five originated from Shenandoah County, two were harvested in Clarke County, and one deer was harvested in Fauquier County.

No infected deer were detected in Culpeper, Madison, or Orange counties.

DGIF worked with dozens of taxidermists statewide to enhance Virginia’s CWD surveillance. Over 2,100 samples from hunter-harvested deer were submitted by participating taxidermists, and besides the detection in Fauquier County, no additional positive deer were detected from this effort.

As a result of the 2019 CWD surveillance efforts, DGIF is expanding the boundaries of Disease Management Area 2 (DMA2). DMA2 will now include Fauquier, Loudoun, Page, and Rappahannock counties, in addition to Culpeper, Madison, and Orange counties. DMA1 will continue to include Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren counties.

In an effort to reduce spread of CWD, year-round feeding of deer is now prohibited in Prince William County, in addition to Albemarle, Buchanan, Clarke, Culpeper, Dickenson, Fauquier, Frederick, Greene, Loudoun, Louisa, Madison, Orange, Page, Rappahannock, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren, and Wise counties, where feeding has already been prohibited year-round.

The feeding prohibition helps prevent the congregation of deer and therefore aids in preventing the spread of the disease from sick to healthy individuals.

The rehabilitation of white-tailed deer fawns collected from Fauquier, Loudoun, Page, and Rappahannock counties is now prohibited, effective immediately, in addition to the other counties included in DMA1 and DMA2 (Clarke, Culpeper, Frederick, Madison, Orange, Shenandoah, and Warren).

This spring and summer, the DGIF will be working with cooperating partners to determine the most appropriate measures moving forward. These measures may include regulation changes, enhanced CWD surveillance, and other methods designed to assess and manage the spread of the disease.

Expanded CWD surveillance efforts will be continued in fall 2020 utilizing predominately hunter-harvested deer.

CWD has been detected in twenty-six states and three Canadian provinces. In Virginia, a total of 88 deer have tested positive since 2009. This incurable disease, found in deer, elk, and moose in North America, is a slow and progressive neurologic disease that ultimately results in death of the animal.

The disease-causing agent is spread through the urine, feces, and saliva of infected animals. Noticeable symptoms, though they may not appear in animals for several months to over a year, include staggering, abnormal posture, lowered head, drooling, confusion, and marked weight loss.

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

Regulations pertaining to CWD, maps of affected states, and information about CWD can be found on the DGIF website at: www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/disease/cwd.


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