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Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological disease of deer, elk, and moose. The disease is caused by an abnormal infectious protein called a prion. Prions are transmitted to uninfected deer directly through saliva, feces, and urine shed by infected deer and indirectly as a result of soil contaminated with prions. The potential impacts of CWD to the white-tailed deer populations of Virginia are a serious concern, though the disease has not been shown to pose a health risk to humans or domestic animals. The DWR leads Virginia’s CWD surveillance and management efforts  and relies on assistance from hunters, taxidermists, processors, other agencies, and diverse constituent groups to implement surveillance and management strategies.

Regionally, CWD was first detected in West Virginia in 2005, Virginia in 2009, Maryland in 2010, and Pennsylvania in 2012.  In Virginia, CWD has been confirmed in Fairfax, Fauquier, Floyd, Frederick, Clarke, Culpeper, Loudoun, Madison, Montgomery, Pulaski, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, and Warren counties.  A summary of the DWR’s 2022-2023 deer hunting season CWD surveillance in the Disease Management Areas (DMA) can be found below (as of June 30, 2023).  In total, 47 CWD positive detections were found. Only one of those was found outside of a DMA (Fairfax County). New for 2023: Arlington, Fairfax, and Prince William counties have been added to DMA2. Patrick County has been added to DMA3.

DMA Counties in DMA 2022-2023 Total Deer Tested for CWD CWD Detections Location of Detections
1 Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, Warren 444 32 Frederick (24)  Shenandoah (6)  Clarke (1)              Warren (1)
2 Culpeper, Fauquier, Loudoun, Madison, Orange, Page, Rappahannock 1,516 6 Loudoun (3)        Culpeper (2)      Madison (1)
3 Carroll, Floyd, Montgomery, Pulaski 1,191 8 Montgomery (4)        Floyd (3)          Pulaski (1)

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