Skip to Main Content

Elk Disease Surveillance

DWR continues to conduct disease surveillance in the Virginia elk population.  Intact elk carcasses that are brought to the attention of the Department before the tissues have degraded are necropsied (i.e., examined for any evidence of disease) to try and determine the cause of death and samples are collected for bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis, and chronic wasting disease testing.  If lesions suggestive of other disease processes are detected upon necropsy, additional samples are submitted to the diagnostic laboratory for testing.

As part of the Department’s active disease surveillance, hunters that harvest elk are required to call 804-367-0044 to report the kill.  A Department biologist then coordinates sample collection from the gut pile and remaining carcass with the hunter, and samples are consequently submitted for testing.

To date, all bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis, and chronic wasting disease testing conducted on elk harvested or dispatched in Virginia have been negative.

Please refer to the following links to learn more about diseases of elk.