Chronic Wasting Disease

CWD Snapshot – Updated December 2018

BREAKING NEWS: On December 14, Tennessee’s state wildlife agency reported the discovery of CWD in their state. Thus far, ten deer from Fayette and Hardeman Counties have tested positive for CWD. In order to minimize the risk that CWD may be spread to Virginia through importation of an infected carcass, the entire state of Tennessee has been added as a Carcass-Restriction Zone. Starting on December 21, 2018, the only deer parts that can legally be imported into Virginia from anywhere in Tennessee include the following: boned-out or quartered meat, hides or capes with no skull attached, cleaned skulls or skull plates with no attached tissue (with or without attached antlers), clean antlers, or finished taxidermy products.

CWD continues to spread across the landscape in several parts of the country. Recent reports from state wildlife agencies in Montana, Missouri, Minnesota, and Mississippi indicate that CWD has been detected in new areas within these states.

In Virginia this fall, DGIF sampled over 1,300 deer in the CWD Containment Area and are currently working to confirm and compile the testing results. We are also working with taxidermists across the state to collect a large number of samples from areas of Virginia where CWD hasn’t been detected. We greatly appreciate everyone who submitted their deer for testing and expect to release testing results to the public via a press release in the coming weeks.

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.

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. Please see the CWD – Human Health section for additional information.  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.

Managing CWD in Virginia

CWD Containment Area


Prion Diseases

Information for Hunters


CWD Questions and Answers

Additional CWD Resources


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