Two new cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) were detected in Frederick County during the 2013 hunting season. One deer, a 2.5 year old doe, was killed on November 30, 2013, in close proximity to the cluster of five CWD-positive deer harvested in Virginia since 2009. Additionally, a 1.5 year old buck was killed on November 23, 2013, approximately 10 miles southeast of the previously reported cluster. The location of this positive is not surprising, given that many male white-tailed deer disperse miles from their place of birth during their second year. Due to the proximity of this new positive to the eastern border of the current Containment Area (CA), changes to the CA boundaries are expected for the 2014 hunting season.
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 plans to continue collecting CWD samples on the first three Saturdays of regular firearms season 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 CA, prohibiting the movement of deer carcasses and parts out of the CA (with exceptions), restricting the disposal of deer wastes from the CA, prohibiting the rehabilitation of deer in the CA, and maintaining liberal seasons and bag limits on private lands in an attempt to reduce the deer population. The CA is currently localized to western Frederick and Shenandoah counties, but will likely be expanded for the 2014 hunting season.
As of February, 2014, CWD has been detected in 23 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.