Chronic Wasting Disease

white-tailed-deer-buckChronic 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.

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. VDGIF 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.

CWD Snapshot – Updated 4/2016


Thank you to everyone who brought deer to a station or volunteered to staff a CWD check station in 2015! We sampled more than 1500 deer between October and January in Frederick, Shenandoah, Warren, and Clarke Counties.

2015 sampling efforts identified 3 new CWD-positive deer in western Frederick County. 2 were harvested by hunters and the 3rd was killed by a vehicle. All 3 deer were located within 2 miles of the West Virginia state line. As of March 2016, Virginia has diagnosed 13 CWD-positive white-tailed deer.

Beginning in 2015, and continuing into 2016, the CWD Containment Area includes all of Frederick, Clarke, Warren, and Shenandoah counties.

All hunters who harvest deer within the CA on the first two Saturdays of the general firearms season must bring their deer to a CWD check station for testing.

CWD has been found in 23 states and 2 Canadian provinces. For more information about this disease please our links further down this webpage.

Managing CWD in Virginia

CWD Containment Area


Prion Diseases

Information for Hunters


CWD Questions and Answers


All images are the property of the Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries.