Richmond, VA — After extensive testing of deer from every county in the Commonwealth, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) reports that there is no evidence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Virginia’s white-tailed deer population. During the 2007-2008 hunting season, 1,140 samples were collected from free-ranging white-tailed deer throughout the Commonwealth. In addition to the samples collected from every county in Virginia, 106 samples were collected from an active surveillance focus area, which included the portion of Frederick County closest to the current cases of CWD in West Virginia.

VDGIF Director Bob Duncan said of the test results, “This is clearly good news, and we could not have achieved this without the hard work of our staff wildlife veterinarian, field biologists and Conservation Police Officers, and the cooperation and support of our partners. In particular, we owe a debt of gratitude to the staff of the Virginia Department of Transportation for their assistance with collecting road-killed deer, and to local meat processors, and above all, to the hunters who allowed us to test their deer.”

The Department will continue its CWD surveillance during the spring of 2008, due to the detection of a CWD positive deer near Yellow Spring, West Virginia, which is approximately 2.5 miles from the Virginia state line. There will be additional surveillance efforts in the portion of Frederick County that borders this area.

CWD is a progressive neurological (brain and nervous system) disease found in deer and elk, and belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). The disease ultimately results in the death of the animal. Species known to be susceptible include elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, black-tailed deer and moose.

All hunters and members of the public are asked to keep a look out for any deer showing symptoms consistent with the disease. These clinical suspects are defined as adult (16 months or older) deer or elk that have poor body condition with neurological signs such as abnormal behavior, tremors, stumbling, incoordination, poor posture including droopy ears and a lowered head, drooling, and excessive thirst and urination. Anyone who sees a CWD suspect deer should not attempt to contact, disturb or kill the animal. Instead, accurately document the location and immediately contact the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries by calling 1-804-367-1258. Arrangements will be made to investigate the report.

More information about CWD and the Department’s management actions can be found on the VDGIF Web site www.dgif.virginia.gov/cwd.

It is the mission of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth; to provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating, and related outdoor recreation; and to promote safety for persons and property in connection with these outdoor activities.