Not unexpectedly, two new cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) have been detected very close to where CWD-infected deer were found in 2009 and 2010. Both deer - a 4.5 year old buck and 1.5 year old doe - were killed by a hunter in November 2011 in western Frederick County, Virginia, very close to the West Virginia border. Given the proximity of these new positives to the previous cases, changes to the current management actions or restrictions are not anticipated, although CWD surveillance in that particular area may be heightened.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) would like to thank all of the hunters in Frederick and Shenandoah counties for their excellent cooperation during CWD sample collection this past fall. VDGIF submitted over 525 samples for CWD testing from deer brought to check stations, self-service drop stations, or deer killed on the road in these two counties. In addition, 1,120 samples distributed over every county in the remainder of the state were submitted for CWD testing and no additional positives were detected.
VDGIF plans to continue collecting CWD samples during future hunting seasons, along with other management options implemented after the initial detection of CWD in 2009. These management actions include: prohibiting the feeding of deer year-round both in and near the Containment Area, prohibiting the movement of deer carcasses and parts out of the Containment Area (with exceptions), restricting the disposal of deer wastes from the Containment Area, prohibiting the rehabilitation of deer in the Containment Area, and maintaining liberal seasons and bag limits on private lands in an attempt to reduce the deer population. The Containment Area is located in western Frederick and Shenandoah Counties.
As of March 12, 2012, CWD has been detected in 19 states and two Canadian provinces. The disease is a slow, progressive neurological (brain and nervous system) disease found in deer, elk, and moose in North America. The disease ultimately results in death of the animal. Symptoms exhibited by CWD-infected deer include, staggering, abnormal posture, lowered head, drooling, confusion, and marked weight loss. There is no evidence that CWD can be naturally transmitted to humans, livestock, or pets. More information on CWD can be found on the VDGIF website at www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/diseases/cwd/ .