Updates Related to COVID-19 »

Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological disease of deer, elk, and moose. CWD was first diagnosed in West Virginia in 2005, Virginia in 2009, Maryland in 2010, and Pennsylvania in 2012.  In Virginia, CWD has been detected in Fauquier, Frederick, Clarke, Culpeper, Loudoun, Madison, Montgomery, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, and Warren counties.

CWD is caused by abnormal infectious proteins called prions. Prions can pass between deer through saliva, feces, urine, and through water or soil contaminated with prions. For more information see the links below.

The potential impacts of CWD to the Virginia white-tailed deer population are a serious concern, though the disease has not been shown to pose a health risk to humans or domestic animals. DWR is responsible for CWD surveillance and management in Virginia. The Department relies on assistance from hunters, taxidermists, processors, other agencies, and diverse constituent groups to implement surveillance.

During the 2020–21 deer hunting season, as part of DWR’s proactive statewide CWD surveillance effort, CWD was confirmed in a 2.5 year-old male deer harvested in Montgomery County. Please visit the DWR DMA3 website for details on how DWR is responding to this detection.

2021 chronic wasting disease (CWD) public meetings have been scheduled!  These outreach efforts may be affected by COVID-19 restrictions, so please check back for updates. Virtual attendance via Facebook Live is encouraged for the Culpeper and Montgomery County meetings.

  • Montgomery County: August 24, 6 – 8 PM, Blacksburg High School Auditorium
    • MASKS ARE REQUIRED for attendance per Montgomery County public school COVID-19 policy
    • Concurrent option for virtual attendance via Facebook Live: click here for link to event
  • Floyd County: August 25, 6 – 8 PM, Floyd County High School Auditorium
    • MASKS ARE REQUIRED for attendance per Floyd County public school COVID-19 policy
  • Culpeper County: August 31, 6 – 8 PM, Eastern View High School, Culpeper
    • MASKS ARE REQUIRED for attendance per Culpeper County public school COVID-19 policy
    • Concurrent option for virtual attendance via Facebook Live: click here for link to event
  • Pulaski County: September 15, 6 – 8 PM, Pulaski County Middle School Auditorium
    • MASKS ARE REQUIRED for attendance per Pulaski County public school COVID-19 policy