Tracking Chronic Wasting Disease in Virginia

Since 2002, over 13,000 deer in Virginia have been tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). As of September 2018, the Department has diagnosed 39 positive cases of CWD in Virginia since 2009.

CWD Positive Deer in Virginia
2009 1 doe, Frederick Co
2010 1 buck, Frederick Co
2011 1 doe, 1 buck, Frederick Co
2012 1 buck, Frederick Co
2013 1 doe, 1 buck, Frederick Co
2014 2 bucks, Frederick Co;
1 buck, Shenandoah Co
2015 2 bucks, 1 doe, Frederick Co
2016 7 bucks, 2 does, Frederick Co
2017 1 buck, 1 doe, Shenandoah Co;
9 bucks, 5 does, Frederick Co
2018 1 doe, Frederick Co

Above: A deer is checked and sampled at a CWD sampling station. Photo credit: DGIF

As of September 2018, none of the CWD-positive deer that have been harvested by hunters in Virginia have exhibited clinical signs of CWD. Between 2005 and 2018, over 300 cases of CWD have been found nearby in West Virginia. At least two CWD-positive deer killed by hunters in West Virginia showed signs of illness prior to harvest. Deer infected with CWD can take several years to display symptoms but are infectious and may spread the disease to healthy deer even when they do not appear sick.

Below is a summary of CWD Surveillance efforts in Virginia since 2005.

The map below shows the location of Virginia’s CWD-positive deer from 2009 to 2018. During the first few years of Virginia’s CWD outbreak, infected deer were found in a small cluster located very close to the West Virginia state line. Beginning in 2013, CWD-positive deer began to be detected southeast of the established cluster. Since then, the disease has spread along the Virginia-West Virginia state line and also further east across Frederick County.

In 2009, the Department established a Containment Area (CA) to help delineate mandatory sampling requirements, liberalized bag limits and seasons, and carcass movement restrictions. The CA was expanded in 2015 to include all of Frederick, Clarke, Shenandoah, and Warren counties.

All hunters in the CA who harvest a deer on the first two Saturdays of the general firearms season are required to take their deer to a CWD Check Station for tissue sample collection. A list of those stations and their locations can be found here.

Hunters in the CA who take deer on other days of the season and want to have their deer tested may drop off the head at a CWD refrigerator drop-point at any time during the deer hunting season. For the list and locations of the refrigerator drop-points, please click here.