Winchester, VA — The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is requesting continued assistance from deer hunters with the Department’s chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance efforts. The Department is making progress on collecting 550 deer heads for CWD testing from a 1,190 square mile area, but additional samples are needed.

Department staff will be collecting deer heads from hunter-killed deer for CWD testing at select check stations on

In , the Department needs additional samples from the area west of Interstate 81 and north of Highway 50. The participating game check stations are , 2765 Northwestern Pike, and , 119 Cedar Grove Road. Both are in the Winchester area.

In , the Department needs additional samples from the area west of Interstate 81 and north of Highway 263. The participating check stations are , 19004 Senedo Road, near Edinburg, , 6836 John Marshall Highway, in Lebanon Church, and , 3321 Back Road, Woodstock.

Hunter participation in the Department’s CWD surveillance efforts is very important. By submitting their deer heads for testing, hunters will enable the Department to more quickly and more effectively monitor the area for the presence of CWD.

Department Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Jonathan Sleeman said of the surveillance effort,”“We really appreciate the support we’ve received from check stations and the hunters who have submitted deer heads for testing. In addition, several processors in the Loudoun County areas – Blue Ridge Meats, Pry’s Custom Butchering, Mark’s Butchers Shop, and Lithicom’s — have been extremely helpful in providing deer heads to be sampled.”

Testing is for CWD surveillance only. No testing technique can assure 100 percent accuracy for CWD diagnosis, and “not detected” test results do not exclude the possibility of low levels of the causative agent being present in deer.

Hunters will be able to check the CWD test results for their submitted deer heads on the Department’s Web. Results should be available in approximately 20 to 30 working days after collection. There is a possibility that not all deer heads will be submitted for testing, and that some submitted samples will not have valid test results returned. If this occurs, an explanation for why there are no test results for a submitted deer head will be provided on the Web site.

CWD was reported in a deer in Hampshire County, West Virginia, 10 miles from the western border of Frederick County, Virginia, in early September. In subsequent testing of approximately 190 deer by West Virginia, an additional three CWD positive deer were found within two miles of the original CWD case.

Dr. Sleeman added, “Concerns over CWD should not keep hunters from enjoying the deer hunting season.” Persons who have questions or need additional information about CWD should visit the Department’s Web site at www.dgif.virginia.gov/cwd.