RICHMOND, VA — Three new cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) were detected in the northwestern corner of Virginia during the 2014 hunting season. For the first time, CWD was detected in Shenandoah County; a 2.5 year-old buck that was killed by a vehicle was sampled very close to the Frederick County line. Two additional CWD-positive adult bucks were hunter-harvested near the previously established cluster in eastern Frederick County, very close to the West Virginia line.

Due to the fact that multiple CWD-positive deer have been diagnosed at the extreme eastern border of the current Containment Area (CA), the boundaries of the CA will be changing for the 2015 hunting season. The new CA will be comprised of Shenandoah, Frederick, Warren, and Clarke counties, in their entirety. Some CWD management actions that applied to all four counties were initiated in 2010, but others will be newly enacted in 2015. Management actions already enacted throughout the new CA include the prohibition of the feeding of deer year-round and the maintenance of liberal seasons and bag limits on private lands. Actions that will be initiated in 2015 include the prohibition of transport of whole deer carcasses and certain parts out of the new CA (with exceptions) and the prohibition of the rehabilitation of deer in the new CA.

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 and look forward to working together again next season. VDGIF plans to collects CWD samples from the new CA on the first two Saturdays of the regular firearms season. This is also a change from previous years, when samples were taken on the first three Saturdays. VDGIF will also continue to work with the Virginia Department of Transportation and contractors to sample road-killed deer.

As of February 2015, 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.