• Ken Perrotte

Virginia Offers End-of-Season Chronic Wasting Surveillance Report - Good News & Bad News

Following is a media release from Virginia's Department of Wildlife Resources about the statewide chronic wasting disease surveillance program. It was released May 23, 2022.


RICHMOND, VA — The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) reports the results of statewide chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance for the 2021 -2022 deer hunting season. Twenty-five CWD-positive deer originating from within a Disease Management Area (DMA) were reported in an earlier press release. No additional CWD detections were discovered in the rest of the state this past season.


Since 2018, DWR has been conducting CWD surveillance in counties not included in a DMA through the help of cooperating taxidermists. During the 2021 – 2022 deer hunting season, 14 counties were included in a DMA. These counties included Clarke, Culpeper, Fauquier, Floyd, Frederick, Loudoun, Madison, Montgomery, Orange, Page, Pulaski, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, and Warren. Cooperating taxidermists submitted samples from approximately 2,175 deer harvested in other counties not included in a DMA. No CWD detections were discovered as a result of this surveillance effort. The Department is very appreciative of the support and cooperation demonstrated by the taxidermists and hunters who aided in this surveillance effort. As evidenced by multiple detections in past years as a result of this cooperation, this assistance is critical to the success of our ongoing statewide CWD monitoring, surveillance, and prevention efforts.


As previously reported for the 2021 - 2022 hunting season, CWD surveillance from within the DMAs resulted in the confirmation of 17 CWD-positive deer from Frederick County, two CWD-positive deer from Fauquier County, and single CWD-positive deer from Clarke, Culpeper, Floyd, Loudoun, Montgomery, and Shenandoah counties. Another deer, sampled by a cooperator located in DMA3, was determined to be infected with CWD but the location of harvest for this animal was not able to be confirmed.


DWR continues to collaborate with neighboring states on CWD surveillance and management, and all neighboring states have now received final test results for the past year’s CWD surveillance efforts. On March 31, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) reported a CWD detection in a hunter-harvested white-tailed deer from Yadkin County. This was the first case of CWD confirmed in North Carolina’s deer herd. DWR staff is currently working with NCWRC staff to ensure the agencies remain up-to-date on each state’s current CWD status. The location of harvest for this deer was determined to be less than 25 miles from Grayson County, which was previously not affected by a deer feeding prohibition. In Virginia, deer feeding is prohibited by regulation year round in any county located within 25 miles of any CWD detection. Thus, effective immediately, deer feeding is now prohibited year round in Grayson County. Other Virginia counties (and cities and towns within) with a year round deer feeding prohibition in effect include the following: Albemarle, Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Clark, Craig, Culpeper, Dickinson, Fairfax, Floyd, Franklin, Frederick, Giles, Greene, Loudoun, Louisa, Madison, Montgomery, Orange, Page, Patrick, Prince William, Pulaski, Rappahannock, Roanoke, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren, Wise, and Wythe.


CWD has been detected in thirty states and four Canadian provinces. In Virginia, a total of 134 deer from eleven counties 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 CWD-positive areas and to not consume any animals that test positive for the disease.Additional surveillance data, descriptions of regulations pertaining to CWD, maps of DMAs, and more information about CWD can be found on the DWR website at: www.dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/disease/cwd.